English (US)

I am afraid I can't do that

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Published on2024/06/14
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My project, departing from a rather whimsical and satirical position, addresses techno-utopian and accelerationist views on computational progress that often picture new technologies such as machine learning as sustainable panacea to social and fundamental challenges of our civilization. The space-themed environment depicts Earth-like planets in a state of distress, as they are being consumed by infernal aurora borealis. Simultaneously, a plague mask entity, a metaphorical Atlas, protected by its mask, is frantically trying to keep it in balance. Each agent has been trained separately to achieve a different degree of proficiency, illustrating various success rates in real-life. Consequently, some of the agents fail the task, while others succeed. The artwork highlights both the indifference of the ML agents towards their success or failure e.g. keeping the Earth's homeostasis in literal and metaphorical balance, as well as points out possible results of delegating the agency over tackling "the unsolvable" problems on computational autonomous beings. Ironically, even if such solutions can be found by artificial intelligence, there will be no going back, and we will have to rely on its agency for us to survive. The artwork illustrates in a humorous manner that as soon as the proverbial plug on AI is removed, we could be doomed. This might position humankind in Dave's position (2001: A Space Odyssey) and autonomous systems in a "too big to fail'' role. The use of Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra” as soundtrack for the spectacle that also appeared in the mentioned movie, aims to reinforce these connotations. For The International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) 2024, I designed a customized version of the artwork that adheres to unique affordances of Styly. Specifically, I created an environment that serves as an “extended reality” platform that offers an ambiance and feel and look characteristic of the original work that is displayed on three virtual screens.


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