From Cellphones to Machine Learning. A Shift in the Role of the User in Algorithmic Writing

  • Galit Wellner


Writing is frequently analyzed as a mode of communication. But writing can be done for personal reasons, to remind oneself of things to do, of thoughts, of events. The cellphone has revealed this shift, commencing as a communication device and ending up (at the moment) as a memory prosthesis that records what we see, hear, read and think. The recordings are not necessarily for communicating a message to others, but sometimes just for oneself. Today, when machine learning algorithms read, write and transmit, a new mode of communication arises that is not centered on the human. In this chapter the various phases of modern writing are modeled according to postphenomenology. As a branch of philosophy of technology, postphenomenology offers a set of analytical tools to study technologies and our relations to them. One of its central frameworks is the scheme of “I–technology–world.” The author proposes some modifications so that the scheme can systematically model the changes in the humans users, in machine learning algorithms imbued with non-human cognition and in the environments of readers, interlocutors and contexts.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Galit Wellner
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.NB School of DesignHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Tel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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