Artificial Turn: Pre-Prints

The antho­logy Arti­fi­cial Turn — Inter­dis­cip­lin­ary Per­spect­ives on Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (ed. by Anne Burkhardt, Susanne Marschall and Olaf Kramer) provides an over­view of the research activ­it­ies of the RHET AI Centre and its asso­ci­ated part­ners from sci­ence and prac­tice. The antho­logy offers a multi-per­spect­ive human­it­ies and social sci­ence approach to the top­ic of Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (AI). It is inten­ded to reach dif­fer­ent audi­ence in sci­ence and sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion, media, art and soci­ety, and to provide a basis for informed debate on the dynam­ic devel­op­ment of AI technologies.

With intro­duct­ory texts on the sig­ni­fic­ance of AI for media stud­ies, rhet­or­ic, lin­guist­ics and glob­al south stud­ies, the first part of the antho­logy lays the found­a­tion for the collection’s inter­dis­cip­lin­ary approach. The fol­low­ing parts bring togeth­er in-depth ana­lyses on the top­ics of AI and fic­tion, AI and (nat­ur­al) sci­ences, and AI and pub­lic dis­course. Taken as a whole, the con­tri­bu­tions trace the "arti­fi­cial turn" dia­gnosed by the edit­ors of the antho­logy, which, due to the ubi­quity and effect­ive­ness of AI-based applic­a­tions, rep­res­ents a caesura in sci­ence and com­mu­nic­a­tion, but also in the his­tory of tech­no­logy and the media.

The antho­logy will be pub­lished under the wbg aca­dem­ic label by Her­der pub­lish­ing in 2024 as an open access pub­lic­a­tion. In order to stim­u­late the debate on the arti­fi­cial turn, we are mak­ing some of the con­tri­bu­tions avail­able in advance as pre-prints. The pre-prints will be pub­lished indi­vidu­ally in the com­ing weeks. The RHET AI Centre wishes you stim­u­lat­ing read­ing and looks for­ward to your feedback!

Note: the pre-prints will be pub­lished in Ger­man only.


The instru­ment­al­isa­tion of games runs like a red thread through the his­tory of the devel­op­ment of AI tech­no­lo­gies. In anti­cip­a­tion of the wider applic­ab­il­ity of the know­ledge gained, com­puter sci­ent­ists have long been con­cerned with enabling com­puters to mas­ter vari­ous games. Draw­ing on aca­dem­ic game stud­ies, this art­icle explains why game and play have such a fruit­ful rela­tion­ship with the devel­op­ment of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. It out­lines aspects of this rela­tion­ship, such as the his­tor­ic­al recourse to tra­di­tion­al games, the dif­fer­ent func­tions of AI tech­no­lo­gies in digit­al games, and how the activ­ity of free play is pur­sued when deal­ing with arti­fi­cial intelligence.

Dis­courses on arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (AI) tend to be dom­in­ated by one-sided per­spect­ives from the Glob­al North. Although people in the Glob­al South are dis­pro­por­tion­ately affected by neg­at­ive impacts such as algorithmic dis­crim­in­a­tion, envir­on­ment­al pol­lu­tion or exploit­at­ive labour con­di­tions, they are severely under­rep­res­en­ted in debates on the tech­no­lo­gic­al present and future. The art­icle there­fore focuses spe­cific­ally on the ‘Souths’. Draw­ing on deco­lo­ni­al the­or­ies and approaches from Glob­al South Stud­ies, the text traces the state of research on AI and glob­al justice and provides answers to key ques­tions: Where do glob­al inequal­it­ies around AI mani­fest them­selves and what can be done to over­come them?

Gen­er­at­ive Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence has a massive impact on algorith­mic­ally gen­er­ated digit­al lit­er­at­ure. With the pub­lic­a­tion of Chat­G­PT, the cap­ab­il­it­ies and prob­lems of these text-gen­er­at­ing sys­tems have also been brought to the atten­tion of a wider pub­lic. Neces­sary ques­tions about the inten­tion­al­ity and mean­ing of machine-gen­er­ated texts lead back to a pre-mod­ern, rhet­or­ic­ally gen­er­at­ive under­stand­ing of author­ship. Using the rhet­or­ic­al fig­ure of imit­a­tio auctor­um, the text looks at the effects and poten­tial of gen­er­at­ive AI for lit­er­at­ure — and leads from cur­rent lan­guage exper­i­ments by the poet Jörg Piringer to the absurd com­puter sim­u­la­tions in Georges Perec's 1968 radio play The Machine.