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Ex-machina: sex, knowledge, and artificial intelligence

This paper investigates the relationship between sex and knowledge and its manifestation in the development of Artificial Intelligence. With the concept of the extimate uncanny I analyse the status of the robotic companion as emblematic of the Lacanian non- existent sexual relation. Through a commentary on the 2014 film Ex – Machina, I discuss the staging of symbolic castration, sexuation and the uncanny and suggest that this conceptual reading of the sex-bot is an essential starting point to a more complex understanding of the contemporary significance of Artificial Intelligence and sexualised automatons in the social bond. Via my reading, the figure of the sex-bot is understood to be the vanishing mediator which articulates the onto-epistemological nexus between psychoanalysis and philosophy.

Black Mirror: from Lacan’s lathouse to Miller’s speaking body

This paper mobilizes the concepts of the lathouse and the alethosphere and re-examines them in light of Jacques-Alain Miller’s clinical developments of the later Lacan and the new symptoms as described by his clinic of the Speaking Body. As predicted by Lacan in the 1960’s, thanks to the allegiance between science and capitalism, technology is beginning to dramatically change the social bond. However, the lathouse as briefly alluded to in Seminar XVII, was a curious object that existed on the boundary between discovery and invention; not quite the Other and not quite being, as Lacan put it. My intention is to examine the status of Artificial Intelligence as precisely this ambiguous object that disrupts the social bond and which I will argue has greater significance than merely as an object a in Capitalist discourse. I will take recourse to an analysis of Charlie Brooker’s Sci-Fi series Black Mirror in order to stage the psychoanalytic questions posed by Artificial Intelligence and thus open up the conceptual possibilities inherent in Lacan’s nascent ideas.