The End of Work: Human Obsolescence and the Undead

Machinic Involution: Human Exclusion and Obsolescence

In our age non-humans rather than humanity has become the focus of certain trends within philosophy and the sciences. The age of human exceptionalism is at an end some tell us, others that humans were never exceptional to begin with rather they were the creatures who like Baron Munchausen believed their own fictional self-importance to the point that the fictions became truth. Jean Baudrillard in his cynical fashion once spoke of the obsolescence of art:  “Since the nineteenth century,” he writes, “it has been art’s claim that it is useless . . . Extending this principle, it is easy enough to elevate any object to uselessness to turn it into a work of art. This is precisely what the ‘ready-made’ does, when it simply withdraws an object from its function, without changing it in any way, and thereby turns it into a gallery piece.” In an automated society in which humans are being obsolesced and replaced by machininc intelligence and robotics in which humans themselves will become redundant, useless, and excluded will we be elevated to the function of “ready-mades” – artistic artifacts from a previous but now obsolete age of spare parts?

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