Reza Negarestani expands upon the major themes of his new book Intelligence and Spirit in this edited and expanded version of his conversation with Robin Mackay at the launch of the book in New York in November 2018.


Robin Mackay: Before I invite Reza to discuss some of the themes and ambitions of Intelligence and Spirit, I’d like to give a short, somewhat personal introduction to the book by relaying my impressions of Intelligence and Spirit as an editor and as a reader.

To first give a very broad outline, Intelligence and Spirit is a painstaking interrogation of the notions of intelligence and artificiality. It begins with the question: What would it mean to speak, philosophically, of an artificial general intelligence, an AGI, whose capacities would, at least, equal our own? Is the human the correct or the only model to start with in trying to conceptualise such an intelligence? And, looking at the various proposals and programmes of research into artificial intelligence, and increasingly into the broader notion of artificial general intelligence, are we able to clarify what exactly we mean by intelligence? The book then culminates in a vision of philosophy itself as a program for the artificialization of intelligence, or a program for artificialization as intelligence…

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