Leonardo Amico

After Tools

Speculative artifacts to train algorithms in a world without jobs

The After Tools are interfaces to the machine that that will replace all human work. Objects with blurred affordances that the man manipulates in search of a possible use, all his interactions fed into learning algorithms. As he contributes to training datasets the man tries to turn into code the very capabilities (of intuition and creative discovery) that made him creator of tools, handing over to the machine these intangible skills in the attempt to find a new purpose in a world without work.


The history of man on earth is a history of tools. The very skills that allowed first humans to imagine a cutting device in the raw materiality of a stone, drove them across millennia through inventions of tools that disrupted their activities and habits. The axe, the plough, the steam engine, electricity and computers. Until the one single tool to replace human work altogether.

Universal Tools

Initially, just a thought exercise among mathematicians and philosophers, the quest for a machine that could learn without being explicitly programmed has finally given results in real-world applications. Machine learning techniques are already powering tools of today and of tomorrow. It’s in Facebook wall feeds but it’s also in research centers developing self-driving cars. A process is in place, that will spread automatization beyond the factories and into the offices, the creative industry and all fields of men’s activities.

After Tools

The after tools express an ambiguity of purpose, their justification on the cusp between two perspectives for men in post-work world. On one side they are necessary devices for compensating the dull scenario of algorithmic efficiency when innovation has reached a plateau and the only form of progress is incremental optimization of pre-existent processes. The other side is the one of a man lost in the lack of purpose of workless days, and After Tools are devices for placebo activities, for man to find comfort in an illusion of needfulness.

© 2019 Leonardo Amico & Federico Floriani / Photos by Federico Floriani