In Search of the Humans in Machine Listening

The Venn Vision Group "Intermedial Sounding: Conversations on Race, Media and the Senses" invites you to this talk with Jonathan Sterne (McGill).

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

4:00-5:00 PM, Dartmouth Hall 105

What kinds of humans–imagined and real–exist inside machine listening systems? Machine listening is machine learning (often branded as "artificial intelligence") that either deals with sonic data, or uses data to produce sound. Some recent scholarship in the humanities and social sciences has cast machine learning as an example of posthumanism, the claim that old ideas of "the human" are no longer relevant. But models and constructs of humans–and even real human listeners–are very much alive inside machine listening systems. Thus, alongside warnings to not exessively anthropomorphize AI systems, we suggest scholars beware of excessive denathropomorphization of so-called AI.

This talks is free and open to the public. If you have any access needs for attending this event, please contact Yiren Zheng (

This event is supported by the Leslie Center for the Humanities.