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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.66, No.4, 585 ~ 604, 2020
A.I. and the Destruction of Thought: How Might George Orwell and Bernard Stiegler Speak to Each Other?
Joff P. N. Bradley
Concerned with the manifold crises in knowledge production and the very concept of originality itself in the humanities, this essay juxtaposes the work of two very different people, namely, the great British writer George Orwell and the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler. This is undertaken to critique what the latter calls the unprecedented evolution of the “global mnemotechnical system” or the so-called Big Data revolution. The author finds in the time of artificial intelligence (AI) an emergent and epochal conflict arising between the authentic and inauthentic, the natural and the artefactual and where, in the contemporary moment, the humanities and AI partake in the agon of intelligence. To understand this agon, I will focus on the question of corruption, that is, the corruption of knowledge and the possibility of the corruption of the dogmatic code, as I am interested in the connection between creativity, invention and resistance. It seems like at present, just as Orwell envisioned, there is a struggle for the freedom to think in terms other than the totalitarianism of language and thought (from Big Brother to Big Data to Big Other). The humanities and AI are embroiled in an agon of intelligence and because of this the great uncertainty we suffer in these times, the search must begin in earnest for a new way of thinking, indeed a new kind of philosophy. The author considers the prospect of algorithmic dominance throug h Orwellian, Stieglerian, and Deleuzian lenses in order to call for the revaluation and affirmation of negentropic, that is contributory, forms of knowledge.
Key Words
George Orwell, Bernard Stiegler, Gilles Deleuze, corruption, revolution
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