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Carpentered Diegetic Things: Alternative Design Ideologies for AI Material Relations

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This paper considers a More-than Human-Centered design approach that presents Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data as materials for design by utilizing the non-anthropocentric philosophy of Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) and the related thesis of Alien Phenomenology. This paper also explores methods of making AI operations, functions and impacts legible through the speculative design practice of Design Fiction by adopting a perspective that acknowledges the independent perspectives and interdependent relationships of human and non-human actants. The structure of this paper is as follows; first, we will give a brief account and understanding of AI technology, with reference to our philosophical guinea pig - Amazon’s AI assistant Alexa and Skills service. Second, we will unpack the theory of OOO detailing the related theories to develop an alternative perspective of AI technology. Further, it will posit how adopting a More-Than Human-Centered design approach can assist in negotiating the complexities of AI and move towards possible implementation solutions. Third, and finally, we demonstrate this alternative approach by utilizing the philosophical theories of OOO, and a Design Fiction as World Building approach to philosophically carpenter a Diegetic Thing - Amazon’s AI assistant Alexa which speculatively transcends Alexa’s current skills into functions of legible AI.