Science and Technology Research Workshop
Turing test Tech hub

Henri Bergson’s Turing Test for Humans

, -

Maison de la paix, Salle S11 in Petal 2

Please register here to participate in person or online. We will then send you a calendar invitation and further information.

Add to Calendar

As other media scholars have argued, in his own media contexts of mass journalism, radio and cinema, the French philosopher Henri Bergson theorized the meanings of the “virtual,” as something more than a mere opposition to “reality.” We know too that Bergson’s theories of time influenced cybernetics in the second half of the twentieth century. However, in this talk, I try to take those insights a step further, in order to assess Bergson’s broader and in some ways anticipatory critiques of modern media and information systems. I argue that throughout his work Bergson mapped what is most “machine like” in humans and how our “coded” linguistic and social selves are the least “vital” aspects of human consciousness. In other words, it was the part of the human mind that Bergson considered the most automatic and the least creative that would come to serve as a model of artificial intelligence. As such Bergson left us a cautionary critique of “machine learning” and a thoroughgoing defense of the cognitive and social importance of “slow” and “analog” humanistic inquiry.


Short BIO

Prof. Carolyn Biltoft, was trained in the world/global intellectual history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Princeton, 2010). Methodologically, her work fuses the tools of intellectual history, cultural studies and media and critical theory. She is broadly interested in how the changing material and immaterial infrastructures of globalization (information technology, media forms and effects and finance) impacted and altered diverse beliefs, emotions, concepts and human life-worlds locally and globally. She is currently an associate professor in the department of international history and politics at the Geneva Graduate Institute.


This event may be filmed, recorded and/or photographed on behalf of the Geneva Graduate Institute. The Institute may use these recordings and photographs for internal and external communications for information, teaching and research purposes, and/or promotion and illustration through its various media channels (website, social media, newsletters).

By participating in this event, you are agreeing to the possibility of appearing in the aforementioned films, recordings and photographs, and their subsequent use by the Institute.

For further information, please consult our privacy policy, our FAQ or contact us directly: events@graduateinstitute.ch.