R&D in Artificial Intelligence
In the summer of 2017, I was selected for Collusion‘s Artificial Intelligence Lab and follow-up R&D, in Cambridge. Working with philosophers from the Centre for the Future of Intelligence, I considered prediction and the idea of the Laplace’s Demon in relation to the physicality of machines. What if we move away from the fascination with machines acting/looking like people, and instead go in the other direction? In our anthro-centric world, I wondered about those qualities already shared between humans and machines (and by extension many other physical objects).
By stripping away digital culture and seeking out an ‘honest’ technology (as I also did on my Rambert residency), I tried to shift the spotlight away from the spectacle of tech, and back onto the human-human relationship. A major crisis of our time centres on social perceptions of ‘difference’ and ‘otherness’, and I wondered whether machines may be most useful as a way to create bridges. By using them to rehearse relationships with other humans, machines may help us to be more empathetic towards those that we’d normally consider dissimilar to us.
I used a mermaid to symbolise the machine BIOS, partly to stand pleasingly for a digital data version of Laplace’s Demon, and partly just to point out the ‘Fiji Mermaid‘ quality of AI in contemporary discourse, which I see as a bit of a sensationalist mash-up. The new AI discussions we’re having are exciting, but often rife with exploitative misdirection, side-show like ‘buzz’ and ultimately hollow promises.
Practical tech I experimented with on this R&D project included RFID, underwater film, pixel graphics and projection mapping.