Chatbots and the Arts Show a Different Side to Technology

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From L.S Lowry’s industrial paintings to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis from endless sci-fi comics and stories to movies, the arts help play a major part in setting the landscape for the future of technology and the general population. See how “AI: More than Human” presents the world of bots and other AI-powered systems to the non-tech world.

In London, England, the Barbican Centre is hosting “AI: More than Human” over the summer, inviting visitors to explore our relationship with artificial intelligence. While AI might be something that feels like a part of our daily lives, especially if your work or hobbies involve technology, smartphones, digital services etc., there are millions to whom the concept is still probably just as alien. Art can reach those people in ways that a white paper or game never can.

Offering the opportunity to “experience the capabilities of AI in the form of cutting-edge research projects by DeepMind, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Neri Oxman; and interact directly with exhibits and installations from artists including Mario Klingemann, Es Devlin and teamLab to experience the possibilities first-hand.”

Features include Lawrence Lek recreating the Barbican as part of a dystopian future video game. A neural network-driven AI has been let loose, remixing Massive Attack’s Mezzanine album while there are light shows and other exhibits all driven by AI to show the beautiful and disturbing side of technology.

The project also comes with a Messenger chatbot to talk about how careers, the health industry and other areas will end up being impacted by AI, along with statistics on how regular people feel about the encroachment of AI into their lives. Across the event, there’s a range of shows and events, plus a robot bartender. That should help when it comes to having discussions about AI machines and robots that can look and perform like people.

All of which will hopefully help people get along, in a world where various art and media loves to portray these machines as evil, or easy to corrupt or as tools of soulless corporations. So, if you want to take off the Black Mirror blinkers about technology, well worth a look if you’re in the city over the summer.
Red Pill/Blue Pill – Pick A Future

The debate about AI and IT being used in more areas of our lives won’t go away, even as the Sun finally collapses and whatever augmented beings we have become flee the solar system. Chatbots and virtual assistants are among the first wave of encounters people will have with smart technology, and – as ever – the focus is usually on enthusiasts or people used to dealing with technology. That’s why most people’s smart homes rarely get as far as a couple of light bulbs due to unreliability or too much complexity.

The second wave, emerging now will be for everyone else. Robotic doctors, nurses and porters that take the tone of their hand-holding human equivalents in varying degrees of comfort are moving into hospitals and clinics around the world. The doctor’s waiting room will soon be replaced by chatbots helping to decide what sort of care patients need, while AI systems scan x-rays and other imagery to diagnose conditions.

The third wave, in labs mixing the technologies currently buried in smart cars, growing smart cities and the most advanced AI systems, will run our world for us, if we choose to let them. Making decisions, ordering the shopping, booking appointments, talking to other bots on our behalf, by the end of the next decade, what we once considered a smart device will really just be a gateway to truly smart devices running in global superclouds.

Yes, there will be resistance. Yes, there will be accidents. Yes, there will be wars or terrorism fought using these systems. But, if on balance, they do a lot more good for us than harm, people will accept them and they will become the norm like the digital watch, the home computer and that Internet thing.

So, in a decade or so, when people look back on that first chatbot they ever came across, ensure your business or helpful bot offered a good user experience so that reminiscence is a fond one.

Do let us know where art or literature about technology has had a real impact on you?