Hyperproduction: a social theory of deep generative models

Fabian Ferrari, Fenwick McKelvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Platformized cultural production is in flux. Artificial intelligence is often seen as a key driving force of this shift. This article examines the proliferation of AI-generated media to introduce a new concept to theorize cultural production: hyperproduction. This notion designates the penetration of cultural life with deep generative models. Juxtaposing two empirical use cases–autonomous vehicles and virtual influencers—the article problematises the convergence of simulation and reality through the lens of video game engines. Although those case studies seem to be at odds with each other, they illustrate the mechanisms of new profit models built on rent extraction. Consequently, far from ushering a Matrix-style simulation that cannot be theorized, hyperproduction remains not only grounded in, but also bounded by, reality: the reality of rentier capitalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2022


  • Synthetic media
  • artificial intelligence
  • deep generative models
  • metaverse
  • political economy
  • rentier capitalism
  • video game engines


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