Living Labour, Wittgenstein and Artificial Intelligence

by Larry Lohmann

first published 21 September 2021

Wittgenstein's critique of what today goes under the name of "artificial intelligence" can be useful to a labour analysis of information technologies. It helps outline the practical contradictions that spring up as a result of the inability of interpretation machines to account for their own actions in terms of following or breaking rules. The main contradiction is capital's need to recruit more and more living labour in order to make the dead labour in such machines perform and thus create capitalist value.

Above are speaking notes for a short presentation at the 2021 annual conference of the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy as well as a short powerpoint presentation for the 2021 annual conference of the World Ecology Research Network. A video of the latter presentation is available at