In Matthew Stewart’s piece in The Avery Review titled “The Architecture of Banal Bureaucracy: WeWork and Algorithmic Design”, Stewart pointed out the eery juxtaposition of the promotion of a cultish imagination of work not as mundane labour but as a way of life, with the banal automation WeWork uses to generate space. In an era where physically intensive jobs are increasingly on their way to be replaced by automation, WeWork claimed that traditionally mentally intensive jobs such as design would not be safe from the replacement by automation either. They argued that automation would increase cost savings, reliability, and productivity by systemising repetitive tasks, freeing up the human designer to use their creativity in other ways. To accomplish this, WeWork’s in house algorithm allows room and furniture layouts to be generated upon the input of parameters, ultimately to have the most optimised outcome. In this case, the maximum number of desks while still providing spatially satisfactory experience.
Therefore, in comparison, humans seem to be subpar in the realm of optimisation and functional accelerationism. The AI is an empiricist, relying solely on external information to operate. On the other hand, the human is a rationalist, and our knowledge of the world is innate and we operate with sentience. The elaboration of this duality extends to a few queries:
1. Can AI simulate sentience and respond to subjective human qualities?
2. Can language be an input parameter to generate sentient algorithmic outputs?