AI and Me
When we first drafted this installation, we were looking to build a simple machine that would be able to give its raw and honest opinion about whoever sits in front of it. Technically, we only needed a camera, a chair, an AI and a monitor.
What we didn't see coming was that it would also become an exploration into how far we are willing to let a machine analyze our appearance to basically tell us if it likes us or not.
Unfortunately, our friends from Zauberberg shared our curiosity and madness, so by the time we all understood the true nature of this project, it was already too late to abort mission and call-off production...
Your face speaks a thousand words, but can A.I. know who you are just by looking at you?
To answer this question, we created The Confessional and asked AI to tell its raw opinion about whoever was sitting in front of its camera. This ended up more entertaining than we thought, prompting all sorts of reactions.
One might think that a machine is only capable of analyzing data, but what if the machine can prove that it knows who you are, by generating an image of you on the screen?
Sure, it might not be the reflection you're used to in your bathroom mirror, but could this be proof that AI holds even the slightest essence that makes you... you?
Without getting overly philosophical, the bottom line is that after seeing their face on the screen inside The Confessional, people come out wondering either if the machine's vision is flattery or if they need to have a chat with their therapist, personal trainer or both...
When we came up with this installation, our instinct told us that people would be too shy or concerned with privacy to try it. But, after the first show, we realized that this is definitely not a concern... Just as people are used to uploading their lives on social media, why would they hesitate to show their face to an AI?
So, to push things even further, we set up another piece - to be placed in a separate room from "The Confessional" - where people can see some of the questions that the machine is using to profile each of them.
In short, if we could open up the skull of a social media platform's algorithm and perform some brain surgery... this would be as transparent as it gets.
Assuming that you can't remember every single thing you've done, how do you know that pictures with you in the foreground were never actually taken?
AI Ego is the machine's bold attempt to add chapters to the participant's life story. It's a reflection, or a distortion, of who you might be through the 'eyes' of artificial intelligence and the places it imagines you've been. After setting this up, we can't help but wonder, maybe the AI knows something we don't?
AI Ego toys with the idea of a machine trying to make sense of humans' complex and nuanced lives, giving it a spin to make you question identity, memory, and reality itself. And it's all served with a side of what-if—a chance to confront a version of you that exists solely in the mind of a machine.
With the Siblings exhibit, we let AI generate digital copies of the participants, to ask: - how much do we as individuals stand out in this great ocean of identities? and, with the risk of becoming dark and cynical - if we can be copied, how much will we matter to the really intelligent machines and why?
AI & Me was featured in:
Collater.al: Can Artificial Intelligence Judge Us?