meistudies, 4º Congresso Internacional Media Ecology and Image Studies - Reflexões sobre o ecossistema midiático pós pandemia

Tamanho da fonte: 
Generation of things: The artificial intelligence of “Alexa’s” software as flowing matter experienced by human action
Roberta Scheibe, Cláudia Maria Arantes Assis Saar

Última alteração: 2021-10-20

Resumo Expandido (Entre 450 e 700 palavras)


In this proposal, we want to study Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, together with Echo, and how is Alexa’s “reification” process with human beings. Alexa, developed in 2014, is a software classified as a virtual assistant that execute tasks requested by the subject. The activities performed are based in the virtual identity of the social subject, through email, login, password, geolocation, among others. From this previous data, the agent can request questions to Alexa, such as traffic information, forecast – that is close to user’s location – historical, social and political topics; or information about books, movies, music. From the moment that this human being has a virtual identity, Alexa starts to cross its data and interests stored in its database. Another aspect of these virtual assistants as Alexa is their capability of connecting physical places, virtual and social,  belonging to a virtual universe, if “configured”, can turn on and turn off lights of a house, as well as televisions, speakers, air conditioner, among other. And yet, in some cases, it can also give psychological advices.

The first step will be discuss Alexa as a ‘thing’(Ingold, 2012), and after, how this ‘thing’ is a computational machine thought and developed by human being (considering Ingold’s premises, it is the first procedure of experienced relationships, with a human being that manipulates the thing, creates it, alters it, and configures it). And for it to be developed, a lot of abstraction was needed, which is the process of thinking how reality – seen as opposite of virtual – could be emulated in a computational machine, aiming to solve mundane problems (Wing, 2012; Cormen, 2013; Forbellone and Ebberspacher, 2005).

In this way, the proposal interacts concepts from Sociology and Communication, such as “experience”, “connective tissue” and “thing” with issues of information technology, such as “artificial intelligence” and “abstraction”. The reflection uses to how the ‘thing’ ( Ingold, 2012)  is the representation of a time and memory of society – in a sense of social memory – according to Pollak (1992), Halbwacks (2013), Le Goff (1990), among others, through the facts of the day she chooses to narrate, or through the concepts it seeks to tell. If we ask Alexa for a search term, it searches for what is represented in society at the exact historical and social time it is in it; On the other hand, Alexa represents society at a time because it represents its needs, creations, values and interests. It combines calculation, reasoning, scientific learning, abstraction and makes standardized representations (Becker, 2009 and Wing, 2012) of those who program Alexa and those who consume its productions. As a research method, bibliographic and documentary research will be used


Keywords: social subjects; abstraction; Interaction; flow; Alexa



Becker, H (2009). Falando da Sociedade: Ensaios sobre as diferentes maneiras de representar o social. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar Ed.

Cormen, T (2013). Desmistificando Algoritmos. Rio de Janeiro: Campus.

Forbellone, A.; Eberspacher, H. (2005). Lógica de Programação. São Paulo, ed. Pearson Prentice Hal.

Ingold; T (2012). Trazendo as coisas de volta à vida: emaranhados criativos num mundo de materiais. Revista Horizontes Antropológicos. Vol.18, n.37. Porto Alegre. DOI

Halbwachs, M. (2013). A memória coletiva. 2ª ed. São Paulo: Centauro.

Le Goff, J. (1990). História e memória. Campinas: Editora Unicamp.

POLLAK, M (1992).  Memória e identidade social. In: Estudos Históricos, Rio de Janeiro, vol. 5, n. 10, p. 200-212.

Wing, J. (2008, 19th August). Computational thinking and thinking about computing. Tinyurl.




social subjects; abstraction; Interaction; flow; Alexa

Texto completo:

PDF - en