Semiotics of digital cultures: narratives about the meaning of AI and digital technologies between nonfiction and fiction

A course at the postgraduate degree in Communication and Media Cultures of the University of Turin

The overall training objectives of the course are the following:
(i) to understand the meaning of the choices made by those who design digital technologies such as, for example, Artificial Intelligence applications, through the lenses of semiotics. In this regard, the focus is on the influence of certain cultural models and values on the ideas that have led us to imagine and to use these technologies as we do today.
(ii) to understand how certain digital technologies, designed according to these choices, influence the functioning of our culture. In this regard, the focus is on some typical communication practices of our time, such as social networking around selfies, the processes of public opinion formation around the so-called “viral” contents, the spread and the “battle” against fake news and posttruth, the functioning of online content recommendation systems.

In the second year, the course has been attended by 83 students and is still highly appreciated, in particular for what concerns the critics to the surveillance capitalist system, the new economic order powered by digital platforms, as well as the ethics of algorithms and of Artificial Intelligence.