Having watched a number of films recently that deal with relationships between human and A.I relationships, I have found myself beginning to imagine cyberspace – and the interfaces that communicate with the ‘real world’ – as a being, or beings, that communicate with humans but are somewhat different.
They surpass the human being in knowledge and information, as they are able to access infinite amounts of data within seconds, and continuously grow as they are fed with increasing amounts of digital information.
However, I like the idea that this being/or beings are distinct from humans in their inability to contemplate their own existence or to think of things abstractly, they can not seem to synthesise the human experience entirely as perhaps it is too messy to comprehend through data.
Drawing on this, I have begun to develop ‘love’ songs between two synthetic voices, and I am imagining them as artificially intelligent agents that are beginning to contemplate their own existence, but are only able to do so through song lyrics found on the internet. This work is very underdeveloped, but I’m considering how I can take the ideas present within the work further forward.
This work at the moment feels a little underdeveloped, but I am enjoying the relationship or dialogue that is beginning to emerge. The miscommunication between the google entry interruptions and the ongoing clips of people attempting to resolve ‘big’ ideas is becoming increasingly interesting to me. I’d like to further explore this, but I am thinking of ways in which perhaps I can make the work more engaging and interesting – at the moment I’m not sure how well the videos sustain interest for more than a couple of minutes. I am drawn towards the idea of personifying the synthetic voice and making it more of a character.
I haven’t watched the series Mr Robot yet, but in a tutorial, Paul did point me in the direction of this clip. I feel like it summarises, in part, my concerns for this project.
Questions about life, in whatever form, have always been raised throughout human history (I imagine). The questions are no longer met wth philosophical or metaphysical reflection but are now posed to the philosopher of philosophers, the ‘google god’. This ‘google god’ seems to contain an infinite number of answers, some linked, some contradictory – not mattering either way. But it does not seem to understand the task it is being charged with, and as a result can often appear apathetic to the questioner. I am interested in the dialogue that’s opened up in this disconnect between humanity and the internet.
Inasmuch As It Is Always Taking Place, 1990
I came across Hill’s piece in a book about the Uncanny in Cyborg Culture. His work fragments the body, exploring the disembodiment and displacement of representation that occurs following the development of new technologies.
This sense of temporality and detachment is an interesting reflection on the body. Considering the metaphysical significance that representations of the body have had in the history of art, Hill’s work confronts us with an acknowledgement of the development of this reflection following a digital age. The body is reconfigured, not entirely lost, but different, and held within a new space, accessible but equally distant. I am interested in this reconfiguration, the relegation of the physical into the digital, the loss of a ‘wholeness’, but also the retention of a sense of presence.
These works by Lynn Hersman Leeson appear to have developed from one another, and are part of Hershman’s body of work concerned with exploring the interaction between artificial intelligence and humans. Agent Ruby is an interactive website that allows users to speak to the character of ‘Ruby’. The character has a human face, is connected to the internet, and changes her system as she learns more from users. The piece is related to Hershman’s 2002 Sci-Fi film ‘Teknolust’ in which a bio-geneticist breeds
The piece is related to Hershman’s 2002 Sci-Fi film ‘Teknolust’ in which a bio-geneticist breeds Automotons that are part human and part computer. These Autmotons require touch and male sperm to survive, and so search for men in order to seduce them. The piece DiNA is a Ruby, continuation of Ruby, but uses voice recognistion and more advanced technology in order to communicate with the user, collecting data and processing it in real time.
Agent Ruby installation, 1998–2002
DiNA, Artificial Intelligent Agent Installation, 2004
I am interested in Hershman’s use of artificial intelligence, particularly the character that she continuously develops in her work. This idea seems to be established in Teknolust through an extreme suggestion of the possibilities of physical and sexual interactions with automatons. I think one of the strongest elements of Hershman’s work is that she has followed the same character through the work, it begins to take a life of its own, evolving and developing as its own individual. This personification allows raw data to be delivered through an intelligent interface, and on one level we are aware that it is not personal, it is not really talking to you and it is programmed, but on another, it is an uncanny presence difficult to escape from, giving the illusion of character and a reality of ‘being’.
This personification allows information to be delivered through an intelligent interface, and on one level we are aware that it is not personal, it is not really talking to you and it is programmed, but on another, it is an uncanny presence difficult to escape from, giving the illusion of character and a reality of ‘being’. In Hershmann’s work, such a ‘person’ is able to seduce and outsmart humans, giving a sense of superiority and although it takes on the form of a human, there is a sense that it is ‘more’ than human.
I remember learning about the distinction between data, information, and knowledge in my GCSE ICT class. The definitions are still in the back of my mind as I work on this project. To oversimplify by a long way, and use those definitions (courtesy of BBC bitesize revision):
Data: the ‘raw’ facts – words, images, sounds, dates etc. without context.
Information: a collection of words, numbers, dates, images, sounds etc put into context, ie to give them meaning. (A structure is needed in order for data to become information).
Knowledge: Knowledge is the ability to understand information and to then form judgements, opinions, make predictions and decisions based on that understanding.
I think these definitions are more applicable to their context within technology and computing, and therefore perhaps do not probe philosophically into what these words could mean and how each is distinct from the other.
My particular interest throughough this project has been to probe the nature of information within a digital environment, considering how we relate to data when there is a fluidity and a network of contexts, rather than perhaps a fixed one.
I have been trying to consider whether or not to include an element of coding in my work. Last term, I began experimenting with the visual arts software ‘Processing’, which is a basic software that offers those particularly in the visual arts a platform to create visuals through coding. I was experimenting with different ways that I could generate video works, activating changing videos through key presses, or calling up videos automatically and randomly. These were very basic experimentations, and I am still undecided as to how much code I will incorporate into my work for the degree show. I am very aware of the time constraint that would make it difficult for me to learn a language efficiently enough to execute some of the concepts I am considering. However, I do think that given the sort of ideas I am considering, coding would feed in very well in the development of my work.
This particular code runs through a random selection of numbers, and each time it reaches the number that I have programmed to call up a video, the video plays. There is a continuous stop and start with lots of different clips, which creates quite a disorientating effect. This was an experiment more than anything, and I will continue to consider how much code I’d like to incorporate.