Hello the MLE,
Reporting back from the AI: More Than Human exhibition at the Barbican.
Overall, it’s okay. It can be summed up as a barrage of examples of various AI-related objects and experiences. The only context provided is a crash course history of AI - which only added to the feeling of superficiality. With so many examples, there is little room for depth.
The exhibition would have benefited by focusing on the only the past 20 years, which is already more than enough. This would allow for a deeper look, a linking between pieces, an insight into what is proving to become a reality and why this is significant, and so on. This would have made the exhibitions much more interesting and meaningful.
Of course, I was personally interested in examples of how AI may help save us from environmental destruction, as well as the ethical considerations.
On the positive end: Neri Oxman and Mediated Matter Group’s Synthetic Apiary creates the conditions for an eternal spring for bees; and the Personal Food Computer developed at MIT is a “slow robot” that proposes an alternative to environmentally ruinous agriculture.
On the negative end:
An open letter to pre-emptively ban lethal autonomous weapons. An Amnesty International website showing how the US-led coalition’s air strikes on Raqqa in Syria in the war against Islamic State — many of them carried out by AI drones — led to hundreds of civilian deaths.
On the creepy end:
A video exploring the use of AI in China’s social credit system, set to roll out in 2020. This is depicted in a cute, colourful and fun animation focusing on all the positives, which is not at all appropriate for such a controversial topic.
And finally, I found it quite funny that there were a number of displays that were suffering technological malfunctions…. But at least the robot bartender was working! The future is bright!