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Volume 11



From the Turing Machine to ChatGPT

The widespread media framing of 2023 as ‘the year of AI’ was mainly motivated by the launch of ChatGPT, a language processing chatbot that has arguably triggered an ‘AI boom’ and is speeding up the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This digital advancement is the latest in the long series of modern technological developments ever since the late 18th century, that have at the same time been the main source of economic progress but also of various cultural anxieties. Concerns that human labour could be (completely) substituted by the ever more advanced machines can be traced from the early protests of the Luddites to the more recent, post-WW2 ‘automation anxieties’  (Bassett & Roberts, 2019), and have found one notable articulation in Marxist theories of alienation. Similarly, since the 19th century invention of the telegraph to contemporary virtual realities, communication media have continuously given rise to fantasies of disembodiment and thus become ‘haunted’ by  various iterations of the ghost in the machine (Sconce, 2000). Artificial intelligence as the latest development, with increasing application across various industries (e.g., healthcare, education, advertising, financial markets, etc.), is renewing these earlier debates around the potential economic and cultural benefits as well as threats, of new technology.

New media are frequently embraced by existing cultural forms, transforming and remediating them in the process. In the post-WW2 Information Age, literature, music, visual and performing arts, and other genres have been exploring the new creative potential of digital tools. For example, while Shelley Jackson created cybertexts and hypertext fiction by applying the principles of digital technology to literature, Merce Cunningham used computer technology to randomize movement and push further his experiments with dance. Performance artist Stelarc has combined biocybernetics, virtual reality and AI to create ‘prostheses’ to his body, bringing us closer to a transhuman future. Digital technology ushered in the new genre of ‘digital art,’ encompassing subtypes such as electronic literature, computer music, digital painting, NFT, and AI art.

With the onset of 21st century, numerous scholars and scientists explore the emancipatory potential of digital technology as means of facilitating our transition into Post-Anthropocene political communities, while digital artists strive to create eco-centric art that explores alternatives to climate change and extinction, e.g., by immersing humans into the Umwelt of other species in order to raise awareness of our shared ecosystems. In this issue of Pulse, we aim to investigate digital technology from various theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, particularly those that focus on the intersection of art and science. Perspectives ranging from art history, history of science, digital humanities, medical humanities, to climatology and environmental studies, as well as other relevant fields, are welcome. To what extent can we erode Anthropocentrism to emphasise our entanglement with animal and plant life by using digital technologies? What is the ethical potential of digital art and media in the context of species extinction, or mass displacement and conflict of populations? How do AI developments figure in the science and politics of trans-humanism or post-humanism? Our aim is to map out diverse territories of digital technologies across the intersections of scientific discourses and practices, and art and cultural media.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:


  • digital literature, hypertext fiction, cyberfiction

  • trans- and post-humanism and AI

  • digital theatre and virtual reality

  • biocybernetics and performance art

  • digital art, blockchain, NFT

  • digital technology and Post-Anthropocene

  • digital media and mass displacement or conflict

  • digital technology and biopolitics

  • digital technology, AI, accelerationism




Basset, Caroline and Ben Roberts. “Automation Now and Then: Automation Fevers, Anxieties and Utopias.” New Formations, 2019 (98).

Dixon, Steve. Digital Performance. MIT Press, 2015.

Sconce, Jeffrey. Haunted Media. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.





We welcome the submission of FULL ARTICLES (5000-6000 words) on these and related themes. We also publish BOOK REVIEWS (800-1000 words); please get in touch if there is a book you would like to review. For submission guidelines view our website. To submit your contribution or for any questions please email us at  


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