What does it mean to be intelligent? Is it something unique to humans, or shared with other beings—beings of flesh, wood, stone, and silicon? The last few years have seen rapid advances in artificial intelligence. But as it approaches, it also gets weirder: rather than a friend or helpmate, AI increasingly appears as something stranger than we ever imagined, an alien invention that threatens to decenter and supplant us.
At the same time, we’re only just becoming aware of the other intelligences which have been with us all along, even if we’ve failed to recognize or acknowledge them. These others—the animals, plants, and natural systems that surround us are slowly revealing their complexity, agency, and knowledge, just as the technologies we’ve built to sustain ourselves are threatening to cause their extinction, and ours. What can we learn from them, and how can we change ourselves, our technologies, our societies, and our politics, to live better and more equitably with one another and the non-human world?
Artist, technologist and philosopher James Bridle draws on biology and physics, computation, literature, art, and philosophy, to answer these unsettling questions. Their new book Ways of Being, explores the fascinating, strange and multitudinous forms of knowing, doing, and being which are becoming evident in the present, and which are essential for our survival.
James Bridle is a writer, artist and technologist. Their artworks have been commissioned by galleries and institutions and exhibited worldwide. They are the author of ‘New Dark Age’ (2018) and ‘Ways of Being’ (2022), and they wrote and presented “New Ways of Seeing” for BBC Radio 4 in 2019. Bridle was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Europe by WIRED Magazine.
Farid Tabarki is the founding director of Studio Zeitgeist, which researches the Dutch, European and global zeitgeist. Farid presented the parliamentary election edition of MTV Coolpolitics and television program Dare to Think, from Socrates to Sartre. He’s also a member of various supervisory boards and committees, among others the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and Mediamatic.