“Mycorrhizal Materialities: positioning the entanglement of human and machine intelligence” presented by Geck


Session Title:

  • AI – Generative (short papers)

Presentation Title:

  • Mycorrhizal Materialities: positioning the entanglement of human and machine intelligence

Presentation Subtheme:

  • Symbiotic Imaginaries




  • Machine intelligence is increasingly being used in the world with sometimes dramatic effects on human and other-than-human lives through its decision making capacity. Much artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is built on metaphors that centre extraction, competition and control. These also position AI itself as a resource to be extracted and controlled, paving a troubling path for speculative futures where AI may gain emergent or ambiguous levels of sentience or experience. These metaphors are part of a historical trend where humans place themselves above the other-than-human world, and this has formed the basis of an extractive and one sided relationship with that world. In light of this, what new metaphors might we employ to platform the relationships between human and machine intelligences? Thinking through mycorrhizae could be a productive way to foreground the entangled, generative nature of exchange between human and machine intelligences. This paper will briefly explore metaphor in human-computer interaction (HCI) and AI, before making an offering to think about these things through the material of the mycorrhiza, a symbiotic site of exchange between plants and fungi. It will then briefly detail a creative project that has emerged from this mycorrhizal thinking to produce machine imagined textiles and embroideries. It then concludes with a call to embed relational thinking into future practices between human and machine intelligence in order to create more equitable and even mutualistic outcomes.