Algorithmic Intimacy - The Digital Revolution in Personal Relationships

Anthony Elliott


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Polity Press
28 October 2022
ISBN: 9781509549818
220 pages

From the publisher

Artificial intelligence not only powers our cars, hospitals and courtrooms: predictive algorithms are becoming deeply lodged inside us too. Machine intelligence is learning our private preferences and discreetly shaping our personal behaviour, telling us how to live, who to befriend and who to date. In Algorithmic Intimacy, Anthony Elliott examines the power of predictive algorithms in reshaping personal relationships today. From Facebook friends and therapy chatbots to dating apps and quantified sex lives, Elliott explores how machine intelligence is working within us, amplifying our desires and steering our personal preferences. He argues that intimate relationships today are threatened not by the digital revolution as such, but by the orientation of various life strategies unthinkingly aligned with automated machine intelligence. Our reliance on algorithmic recommendations, he suggests, reflects a growing emergency in personal agency and human bonds. We need alternatives, innovation and experimentation for the interpersonal, intimate effort of ongoing translation back and forth between the discourses of human and machine intelligence. Accessible and compelling, this book sheds fresh light on the impact of artificial intelligence on the most intimate aspects of our lives. It will appeal to students in the social sciences and humanities and to a wide range of general readers.