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This ongoing philosophical project concerning intelligence investigates the concept's development and present-day socio-cultural and environmental ramifications in parallel with the advancement of intelligent machines since the mid-20th century.

With the ascendance of machine learning and artificial neural networks, Allen Turing's 1950 question—"Can machines think?"—becomes obsolete today. AI systems are replacing humans in many decision-making processes, including environmental management. Machines become important actors in the co-production of the shared environment.

Since the late 1990s, posthumanism has made its way into 21st-century intellectual life, providing new frameworks to challenge human exceptionalism that underpins many contemporary issues, from systemic racism to climate change. Ideas such as assemblage thinking, actor-network theory (ANT), new materialism, and object-oriented ontology (OOO) transform how agency and intelligence—the individualistic anthropocentric concepts—may be conceptualized in favor of a non-human-centric mode of thinking.

With this posthumanist cognition, the question is not about whether machines can think -- like humans. The question is how we may recognize other forms of intelligence other than humans, which, in itself, is already embedded in an assemblage of more-than-human parts. Is there a different way to conceptualize intelligence outside the human-nonhuman spectrum? What is the role of intelligent machines other than optimization and automation?

Related publications:

Cantrell, Bradley, Zihao Zhang, and Xun Liu. 2021. “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Landscape Architecture.” In , 232–47. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780367824259-15.

Zhang, Zihao. 2020. “Cybernetic Environment: A Historical Reflection on System, Design, and Machine Intelligence.” JoDLA Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture 5–2020: 8. https://doi.org/doi:10.14627/537690004.

Zhang, Zihao, and Ben Bowes. 2019. “The Future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in Landscape Design: A Case Study in Coastal Virginia, USA.” Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture 4–2019: 2–9. https://doi.org/doi:10.14627/537663001.

Cantrell, Bradley, and Zihao Zhang. 2018. “A Third Intelligence.” Landscape Architecture Frontiers 6 (2): 42–51. https://doi.org/10.15302/J-LAF-20180205.

Cantrell, Bradley, and Zihao Zhang. 2018. “Choreographing Intelligent Agents.” In 107th ACSA Annual Meeting Proceedings, Black Box. https://doi.org/10.35483/ACSA.AM.107.1.

Zhang, Zihao, and Shurui Zhang. 2020. “The Cybernetic Environment as a New Frontier.” Lunch Journal 14: 149. Prototyping Climate Awareness