NPCs (Non-Player-Characters) gather around a turn-of-the-century campfire listening to one of their own strum the guitar. I’ve left the videogame playing in my bedroom, I’m AFK but the guitar keeps going, the programmed characters keep listening, and enjoying. This scenario prompts an age-to-come question: if a sound plays for no one but you (or bots) to hear it, can it really matter in a political sense?
In this talk, which draws from Emile Frankel’s new book Hearing the Cloud, the author discusses collective listening and isolated listening in online environments. As AGI begins to reshape human-to-human interaction, what kind of agency resides in bot populated Spotify playlists, livestream chat-boxes, and the act of roleplaying amongst friends?
Author of Hearing the Cloud (Zero Books), Emile Frankel is an interdisciplinary writer, composer, and researcher.