Sociable robots, jazz music, and divination: Contingency as a cultural resource for negotiating problems of intentionality

by Eitan Wilf

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By Eitan WilfFull Article: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/amet.12041/abstract

In practices that range from mechanical divination in Central Africa to gamelike interactions among jazz students and the development of a jazz-improvising humanoid robot marimba player in the United States, contextually meaningful contingency is widely used as a cultural resource for negotiating problems of intentionality. Whereas anthropologists have been concerned with the use of contingency mostly as a cultural resource for increasing predictability of intentions in conflictual situations, I highlight contexts pervaded by modern normative ideals of creativity in which predictability of intentions constitutes a problem, for which contextually meaningful contingency is used as a solution.

Music robot with media buttons on it and callout. Ikonstudio, CanStock Photo Inc.
Music robot with media buttons on it and callout. Ikonstudio, CanStock Photo Inc.

Cover photo: Music robot with media buttons on it and callout. Ikonstudio, CanStock Photo Inc.