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article imageAI: More than Human exhibition challenges our preconceptions Special

By Tim Sandle     Aug 4, 2019 in Technology
London - Artificial intelligence is infiltrating every aspect of waking life and out relationship with this powerful technology is becoming more complex. An interactive exhibition at London's Barbican Centre seeks to explore where is our world’s future headed.
AI: More than Human explores creative and scientific developments in AI, with a focus on its potential to revolutionize our lives from fashion, to art, music, medicine, and even human rights. Many of these are realized through immersive and interactive displays which run through this large exhibition, which sprawls through the architectural Brutalist building in North London.
A robot on show at the AI: More than Human exhibition in London.
A robot on show at the AI: More than Human exhibition in London.
The exhibition is presented in a general chronological order, charting the progress of AI, from its early days of being a product of our imagination to its rapid development over the last century. This include several side wipes at computing and art along the way. This includes Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, Alan Turing and the codebreakers of Bletchley Park, through to IBM's chess-playing computer Deep Blue.
The history of computing and AI is on display. One development featured is ELIZA  which was an early...
The history of computing and AI is on display. One development featured is ELIZA, which was an early natural language processing computer program created from 1964 to 1966 at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by Joseph Weizenbaum.
The exhibition begins further back than you might thinking, acknowledging humanity's desire to breathe life into objects. This includes looking at animistic beliefs of ancient Japan; the idea behind the Jewish Golem; and perhaps most fittingly of all, Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. This extends to how film, books and music have been inspired by AI.
The exhibition explores how artificial intelligence can help us improve aspects of our lives such as...
The exhibition explores how artificial intelligence can help us improve aspects of our lives such as road safety, medical diagnostics and city planning.
Central to the AI development discussion is how AI can outperform (or at least out-compete) the human brain. This is with reference to AlphaGo (developed by Google DeepMind) defeating a professional Go player, Lee Sedol, in 2016. What is remarkable about this is how AlphaGo was able to strategize creatively.
People visiting the exhibition have the opportunity to take on AlphaGo  from Google at the strategy ...
People visiting the exhibition have the opportunity to take on AlphaGo, from Google at the strategy game.
How artificial intelligence is being used proactively for the good of society is featured on many occasions, such as microchips for testing drugs and the progress towards one day developing human grown organs.
Future state 3D bioprinting  imagined as 3D printed organs.
Future state 3D bioprinting, imagined as 3D printed organs.
The MIT Media Lab Open Agriculture Initiative (OpenAg) builds open resources to enable a global community to accelerate digital agricultural innovation, based on AI-driven technology. This is based on the idea that the precursor to a sustainable food system will be the creation of an open-source ecosystem of technologies:
MIT s Open Agricultural Initiative aims to produce an AI-driven farm.
MIT's Open Agricultural Initiative aims to produce an AI-driven farm.
Or the concept of 'living' masks, a future state where body enhancements are created according to our individual body make-up. These 3D-printed constructs have been designed by Neri Oxman and her Mediated Matter Group at MIT:
Part of the exhibition called Vespers  which explores a future concept of  living  masks.
Part of the exhibition called Vespers, which explores a future concept of 'living' masks.
Throughout the exhibition there are many opportunities for visitors to to interact with the technology. A robot dog (called AIBO, from Sony) is designed to be endearing and it reacts to being played with.
An interactive robot dog on display at the Barbican exhibition. The robot is called AIBO.
An interactive robot dog on display at the Barbican exhibition. The robot is called AIBO.
Something slightly more disturbing is a robotic torso (called Alter3)which moves its as it attempts to replicate the gestures of whoever is moving their arms in front of it.
Alter 3 is part of a new Artificial Life (Alife) research project. The goal is to explore the future...
Alter 3 is part of a new Artificial Life (Alife) research project. The goal is to explore the future of human communication.
The failures of AI are also showcased, such as the work of Joy Buolamwini (of the Algorithmic Justice League) who has demonstrated the limitations with facial analysis technology which often struggles to correctly identify women and is even less at recognizing black woman.
The big debate with facial recognition technology is how biased it is and how biases can be eliminat...
The big debate with facial recognition technology is how biased it is and how biases can be eliminated.
The serious side of AI is also presented, in relation to data gathering and analysis. This is about how AI is entering into our daily activities, such as seeking to influence our shopping choices, our financial decisions and even our voting intentions.
Also featured are ways that AI can help with the environment and sustainability, such as designing a 3D-printed apiary to help to protect bees from colony collapse:
A 3D-printed synthetic apiary that could provide a base for future bee populations  designed by Neri...
A 3D-printed synthetic apiary that could provide a base for future bee populations, designed by Neri Oxman and a mix of acrylics.
Or the idea of digital nature, where technology could help to enhance the future environment, as envisioned by Yoichi Ochiai.
Yoichi Ochiai:  Humans (brains) and today s AI are most likely two completely different things that ...
Yoichi Ochiai: "Humans (brains) and today's AI are most likely two completely different things that are not analogous or comparable in the first place."
AI: More Than Human seeks to be the exhibition that clarifies our understanding of AI and where it’s currently . In a sense it does this, but it perhaps veers too far to utopianism without triggering the necessary discussion on how AI can be used to control lives and what might happen if human agency is impacted by this Earth-shaking technology.
A robot called QRIO on display at the exhibition . designed by Sony.
A robot called QRIO on display at the exhibition,. designed by Sony.
The exhibition ends in style with Singapore art collective teamLab’s What a Loving, and Beautiful World. This is an art project that creates heightened images of nature, and its algorithms adapt to every individual movement. With this exhibit, as visitor passes their shadow over a Chines letter it transforms into a flower, bird or butterfly.
teamLab’s What a Loving  and Beautiful World immerses you in a digital Japanese scroll painting of...
teamLab’s What a Loving, and Beautiful World immerses you in a digital Japanese scroll painting of nature, with a quiet message about humans’ responsibility for our environment.
AI: More than Human is running at the Barbican Centre in London during August 2019.
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