I visited" AI; More than Human" at the Barbican Centre as initial research to my new project "The heart of the Machine". In this project, I'm planning to show the mind/heart of the machine and ask the audience to how we are going to coexist with the machine.
However, the concept of the project is still abstract and weak, so I started to study what is going on in the area of artificial intelligence technology and the idea around it. I hope to figure out the core idea of the project by knowing the situation now.
The exhibition is the best opportunity to start my project.
When I think of the exhibition, I couldn't avoid thinking about the difference in the definition of machine/android between Japan and the UK.(could be most of the western country)
I read some reviews and recognized there is a variation in the evaluation of the exhibition. The common opinion of the writer who marked a bad evaluation was that the show focused on the progress of creating AI in the human civilization too much and there is less exhibit for the future development of AI technology. On the other hand, one of the common plus evaluations was for well analyzing the diverse practical uses of AI and its ethical and cultural effects.
This exhibition was analytical for the background of the improved AI technology, and the contents and exhibits are focused on the philosophical and historical aspect more than scientific or futuristic highlights. For example, ancient Japanese belief, the Jewish golem, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Then, why there is a writer who has accepted the long explanation about the progression and a writer who haven't.
I think this is because the idea for AI is different depends on the place. I know in Japan, people tend to believe everything in the world has a spirit, android or machine also should have a mind/heart. However, in the UK I suppose British people have a different thought which is like the machine is the machine. For example, their thought seems like that if the machine has the autonomy, it's should be brought by our technological development.
I don't think the definition for the AI should be unified in the world, but I found we need a little bit more time to share the general understanding. At the moment people seem like still confused whether AI is material or life.
I think in this show, technology and AI is treated as a life which has autonomy more than material. That's why exhibits are exhibited on the own history line of AI technology. When we describe a human being, we will start from the history and the ancient belief, we won't describe only our situation now and the possibility of the evolution.
In the exhibition, the curator did the same thing about AI. I wonder, if the general understanding of AI was a life, the review would be better.
The most important thing I learned from the show was the public confusion about the positioning of AI.
The figure of the golem in the world
comics about golem in the USA
Ancient Japanese communication tools with God
An artificial human face in ancient Egyptian
The video of Jewish belief of golem
As my personal impression, the most fascinating exhibit was Alter3 by Takashi Ikegami and Hiroshi Ishiguro.
After leaving the exhibition, I personally contacted with one of the engineers Takashi Ikegami and asked permission to the cooperation to my project.
According to him, the concept of the android is "Offloaded Agency" which means the mind is coming from the outside. Additionally, this android is not an Artificial Intelligence, but an Artificial Life.
The difference between the AI and A-Life is three that autonomy, interactivity, and presence. AI and A-Life are distinguished by whether the android has those three elements or not.
When I saw the android Alter3, he was moving his hands as if dancing in the silent. Then he found me, he looked at my eyes, expressed reply by changing the motion and the facial expression. Certainly, there was a conversation between us. I felt a presence as life from his behaviour/life expression.
I was observing Alter3 and the public for a while. I found the majority of people show him the reluctant reaction at the first look and then stars communication little by little after they ensured the Alter3 is harmless.
From the public reaction, I thought people accept Alter3 already as a life rather than an object/ material. Whatever they think in their mind, the public reaction for Alter3 was the reaction for the unconfirmed organism.
In those a few decades, people have used to argue the definition of life and machine and our identity as a life, but I wonder the thing we have to think now is about the coexisting form with a new organism.
Shinto and A-Life
For me, one of the most interesting topics was the connection between Shinto and AI/A-Life. The reason why I found interest is the combination is that I was also thinking of it necessary to create a peaceful relationship between human and android.
In Japanese history, God is not an absolute existence. we've believed there is more than eight million of Gods, the definition of God is more like a spirit. We've believed natural spirit which possesses in a piece of rock, trees, rivers, everything in the world. This belief is accepted to artificial works as well, for example, dolls, paintings, and artificial intelligence. That's why Japanese culture includes many stories about the friendship between a robot and a person.
The traditional Japanese belief is that everything in the world is the same, even though we cannot see any expression into an object, it must have a spirit the same to us.
I am not a nationalist, but I wonder the traditional Japanese thought Shinto will be a key to establish a relationship with Android. That means paying respect naturally for AI with accepting we have a mutual relationship.
I was thinking of that is very arrogance idea that helping or supporting nature with something artificial invention because nature is huge much more than our thought and things we can do. However, Synthetic Apiary changed my thought.
According to mid-media lab, "The Synthetic Apiary proposes a new kind of environment, bridging urban and organismic scales by exploring one of the most important organisms for both the human species and our planet: bees. " The exhibit above shows the example of how can nature coexists with human-made society. I found this project is not created on the thought of people can control nature, but a positive idea of how to science engages nature and support the natural system of life.
I was thinking of science is to against nature, however, the time of people use the science force to control nature is already in the past. Now is the time to think about how human and nature coexist together using scientific innovation and our creation. I thought science technology changes the effect depends on the creation/idea leads the technology.
Hope the next generation children will recognise science technology is the tool to restore nature but not to destroy.
I really enjoyed the exhibit which is the visual record of flowers. It was just numerous photographs about a bloomed flower and the date of blooming. This might be a piece of research of a scientist but nit an artwork. However, I felt a kind of beauty. I think it is because each photograph has a certain content and very careful quality. Those photos are not taken by the purpose of beauty, but the unconsciously for showing the beauty was the most innocent attraction of the work.
The beauty of unconventional work impressed me.
This work let me think of the series of painting aims to describe a life which is by analysing data column. It could be my next project.
This description made me think of what is the most horrible thing about AI. According to the image on the right, seeing and knowing is totally different.
Now the programming of android is the job of professional scientists/ engineer, but if someone who has no professional knowledge and I understanding for the fearness by AI technology made AI, we posibly commit taboo between life and AI. I prdict it will happen in near future by someone want to do business using AI.
The truly fear things on AI is not because of the high interigense or autonomy, but unstoppable productivity due to human desire. People are being afraid of human being behind the AI.