Spatializing ‘Intelligence’

Type: Virtual Paper
Theme:
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: Casey Lynch, Katherine Sammler
Chairs: Casey Lynch

Call for Submissions

AAG 2021 CFP: Spatializing ‘Intelligence’
Organizers: Casey R. Lynch (University of Nevada, Reno) and Katherine G. Sammler (Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity)

Given the emergent discussions around smart cities, AI, and robotics in society, scholars are increasingly invoking notions of intelligence, sentience, thinking, and cognition in their analysis of evolving socio-technical assemblages. Notions of ‘intelligence’ are also invoked in animal geographies, outer space geographies, geo-ontology, posthumanism, social movement studies, and other fields. Too often, these terms are invoked with little to no discussion as to what they mean. Yet, Enlightenment theories of intelligence rely on mind/body and human/nature dualisms that have long been used to justify deeply racist, gendered, colonial, ableist, and speciesist projects, including geography’s own legacy of environmental determinism. Meanwhile, across philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, and AI, there is little to no consensus as to the meaning of intelligence, even as some attempt to engineer it. While many have attempted to locate intelligence in the brain, others have long argued for embodied understandings of intelligence as emergent from interactions in dynamic environments. Others still aim to decenter the ‘human’ from theorizations of intelligence altogether.

Within geography we see groups critically engaging questions around knowledge production, meaning-making, more-than-human agency, difference, and cognition. Yet, geographers have yet to bring these insights to bear on debates about intelligence, with a few expectations. For instance, Thrift (2004) writes of affect: “[a]ffect is a different kind of intelligence about the world, but it is intelligence none-the-less” (p. 60, emphasis added). Bear (2011) discusses the question of intelligence in relation to animal geographies. Reflecting on the rise of ‘smart spaces’, Lynch and Del Casino (2020, p. 383) argue “that expanded understandings of intelligence as multidimensional, variegated, and exceeding the human open up new ways to imagine so-called smart futures.” This session aims to bring together scholars from across the discipline to critically examine the multiple and shifting meanings of intelligence in geographic research and to question assumptions about what intelligence is (or might be), where it is located, how it operates in relation to power, and how it is evolving in the contemporary conjuncture.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

Theoretical or empirical work on intelligence in animal geographies
Theorizations of intelligence and the rise of ‘smart’ spaces and places (cities, borders, mines, homes, etc.)
Critical engagements with Artificial Intelligence (AI), robots, cyborgs
Outer space geographies and the search for ‘intelligent life’
Engagements with neuroscience, psychology, psychoanalysis
Affect, embodiment, and intelligence
Collective intelligence, swarm intelligence, etc.
Geographies of neurodiversity
Intelligence and stupidity
Relationship between intelligence, knowledge, consciousness, information, agency, meaning
human/nonhuman/transhuman intelligences
Theories of intelligence in histories of colonialism and scientific racism
Theories of life, nonlife, animacy, and intelligence
Relational bodies/landscape intelligences
Political economy of intelligence, capital, and labor

If you are interested in participating in this session, please submit a title and abstract (250 words max) to Casey Lynch (caseylynch@unr.edu) and Katherine Sammler (ksammler@hifmb.de) by Monday, October 19th. We currently plan this as a virtual session, but if there is interest in an in-person or hybrid option, please let us know and we will try to organize something. We are also open to creative and alternative contributions to the session beyond traditional conference-style papers.


References

Bear, C. (2011). Being Angelica? Exploring individual animal geographies. Area, 43(3): 297-304.

Lynch, C.R. & Del Casino, V. J. (2020). Smart Spaces, Information Processing, and the Question of Intelligence. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 110(2): 382-290.

Thrift, N. (2004). Intensities of Feeling: Towards a Spatial Politics of Affect. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 86(1): 57-78.


Description

Given the emergent discussions around smart cities, AI, and robotics in society, scholars are increasingly invoking notions of intelligence, sentience, thinking, and cognition in their analysis of evolving socio-technical assemblages. Notions of ‘intelligence’ are also invoked in animal geographies, outer space geographies, geo-ontology, posthumanism, social movement studies, and other fields. Too often, these terms are invoked with little to no discussion as to what they mean. Yet, Enlightenment theories of intelligence rely on mind/body and human/nature dualisms that have long been used to justify deeply racist, gendered, colonial, ableist, and speciesist projects, including geography’s own legacy of environmental determinism. Meanwhile, across philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, and AI, there is little to no consensus as to the meaning of intelligence, even as some attempt to engineer it. While many have attempted to locate intelligence in the brain, others have long argued for embodied understandings of intelligence as emergent from interactions in dynamic environments. Others still aim to decenter the ‘human’ from theorizations of intelligence altogether.

Within geography we see groups critically engaging questions around knowledge production, meaning-making, more-than-human agency, difference, and cognition. Yet, geographers have yet to bring these insights to bear on debates about intelligence, with a few expectations. For instance, Thrift (2004) writes of affect: “[a]ffect is a different kind of intelligence about the world, but it is intelligence none-the-less” (p. 60, emphasis added). Bear (2011) discusses the question of intelligence in relation to animal geographies. Reflecting on the rise of ‘smart spaces’, Lynch and Del Casino (2020, p. 383) argue “that expanded understandings of intelligence as multidimensional, variegated, and exceeding the human open up new ways to imagine so-called smart futures.” This session aims to bring together scholars from across the discipline to critically examine the multiple and shifting meanings of intelligence in geographic research and to question assumptions about what intelligence is (or might be), where it is located, how it operates in relation to power, and how it is evolving in the contemporary conjuncture.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

Theoretical or empirical work on intelligence in animal geographies
Theorizations of intelligence and the rise of ‘smart’ spaces and places (cities, borders, mines, homes, etc.)
Critical engagements with Artificial Intelligence (AI), robots, cyborgs
Outer space geographies and the search for ‘intelligent life’
Engagements with neuroscience, psychology, psychoanalysis
Affect, embodiment, and intelligence
Collective intelligence, swarm intelligence, etc.
Geographies of neurodiversity
Intelligence and stupidity
Relationship between intelligence, knowledge, consciousness, information, agency, meaning
human/nonhuman/transhuman intelligences
Theories of intelligence in histories of colonialism and scientific racism
Theories of life, nonlife, animacy, and intelligence
Relational bodies/landscape intelligences
Political economy of intelligence, capital, and labor


References

Bear, C. (2011). Being Angelica? Exploring individual animal geographies. Area, 43(3): 297-304.

Lynch, C.R. & Del Casino, V. J. (2020). Smart Spaces, Information Processing, and the Question of Intelligence. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 110(2): 382-290.

Thrift, N. (2004). Intensities of Feeling: Towards a Spatial Politics of Affect. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 86(1): 57-78.


Agenda

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