See our mini machines moved by bacterial mud power, among a great selection of cutting edge projects by international artists and designers, during the Digital Design Weekend in Victoria and Albert Museum London, 23rd and 24th September 2017.
LAUREN is a project by new media artist Lauren McCarthy. She will impersonate a home automation assistant not unlike Amazon’s Alexia, responding to users’ vocal commands and acting on their connected domestic environment. Project Lauren will last 3 days.
“Lauren will control your home for you, attempting to get better than an AI, understanding you as a person”.
I reckon it is a no brainer for Lauren the HI (human intelligence) to be better than Alexa or Siri, examples mentioned by the artist on the project’s website.
Volunteers might feel more morally observed than by an artificial assistant, and may have to deal with interruptions of service due to naps or other very human breaks.
You can apply here if you are interested in hosting Lauren in your home.
— Why do I blog about that?
I have an ongoing interest in the way machines and humans roles overlap or shift, takeover, resistance, harmony, symbiosis. Power, delegation, cyber-isation. Lauren is an interesting gesture that reminds us about the unique -as yet- touch humans can bring to other humans in a way machines cannot. My own Am I Robot installation works on a similar principle of injecting HI in a system normally driven by AI or simpler algorithms.
The Wizard of Oz, HI trickster, exposed by Toto's down to earth DI (dog intelligence)
The robot fans readers will know about Boston Dynamics‘ Spot Mini, a pretty amazing quadruped robot I mentioned a while ago. On 19th July 2017, an upgraded version was introduced to the clients of Boston Dynamics’ new owner, Softbank Japan. Spot has been given an “arm”, that looks as much as a neck and jaws as it does an arm.
These characteristics would make Spot Mini an ideal candidate for the Coy-B Wild Robot experiment that’s been haunting me fo the past ten years, with highs and lows. For reasons of reliability, cost and battery usage, I did not think of Coy-B as a legged robot. Yet, something agile and uncanny like Spot Mini would be very good for the job!
The demo shows a robotic creature whose abilities are, if not quite at the level of those demonstrated by the coyote that inspired Coy-B, fluid and fast enough for a very engaging real-time interaction with a human. Loaded with a suitable set of teeth and a wild AI program of course.
When will it be available at the robot shop around the corner?
The Australian online journal Fibreculture’s special issue on Creative Robotics is now available! The issue features 8 articles by academics and artists on themes such as creative robots on Mars, non-organic intelligence, working with the most famous humanoid robots, failing robots and more… My contribution to the journal is an article titled This Machine Could Bite, On the Role of Non-Benigh Art Robots. I make a case for experimentation in human robot interaction with machines not designed for being useful or friendly.
“The social robot’s current and anticipated roles as butler, teacher, receptionist or carer for the elderly share a fundamental anthropocentric bias: they are designed to be benign, to facilitate a transaction that aims to be both useful to and simple for the human. At a time when intelligent machines are becoming a tangible prospect, such a bias does not leave much room for exploring and understanding the ongoing changes affecting the relation between humans and our technological environment. Can art robots – robots invented by artists – offer a non-benign-by-default perspective that opens the field for a machine to express its machinic potential beyond the limits imposed by an anthropocentric and market-driven approach? The paper addresses these questions by considering and contextualising early cybernetic machines, current developments in social robotics, and art robots by the author and other artists.”
I was doing some software adjustments on my new robot Combover Jo in Manchester Art Gallery today and one of the invigilators told me that the robot was nick-named Donald Trump by the team. I think it is unfair.
Getting ready for The Imitation Game, a group exhibition in Manchester Art Gallery where 8 artists explore the theme of machines and the imitaion of life. More details here.
I was commissioned to make a new robot installation called Am I Robot for the show, still in the finishing stages in my Cardiff studio. I am looking forward to the show the features classic works by Lynn Hershman and Mari Velonaki (pictured), as well as several new pieces by Ed Atkins, Tove Kjellmark, Yu-Chen Wang and more…