Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal earned his undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Indore, studied English at the University of Chicago, and is now pursuing his PhD in English, with a designated emphasis in Science and Technology Studies, at University of California, Davis. His research interests include critical media theory, contemporary art and literature, science and technology studies, and science fiction studies. His dissertation looks at the forms of algorithmic production and representation throughout the history of computing, with a particular focus on algorithmic rendering as it interacts with science, culture and literature, changing the material infrastructure and semiotic conceptions of the late 20th century.
This project traces the trajectory of the cultural imaginary of neural networks, moving through communities of neuroscientists, science fiction authors, computer scientists, and artists. Starting with the Catalan neuroscientist and artist, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, who first envisioned systems of neurons in 1900s, Ranjodh Dhaliwal investigates how these speculations around networks of cognitive units travel across the world over the next century, morphing into the contemporary AI boom. By looking at novels and visual art alongside scientific research to study the visions of algorithmic production of intelligence, he calls into question the dynamics between our cultural imaginaries of cognition and learning as they are modeled in art, and our techno-scientific apparatuses that render them material.