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Little AI

AI / Machine Learning sculpture. 2019-2020.

Taking the idea of “little ai” to its extreme, this piece uses an inexpensive microcomputer pushed to its limits. Barely able to execute the advanced machine learning code, it runs hot and slow, and the display flickers. And yet this begins reveal the unique materiality of AI, allowing us to hold what emerges as a way to consider what the future of AI might be.

Training the machine with such limited data reveals the irrationality, and the beauty, of AI.

The work is part of the Tabula Rasa project. For more information see the essay Tabula Rasa. Treating the mind of the machine as a “tabula rasa,” or “blank tablet,” I train it using only a handful of solid colors or shapes. The images that emerge reveal tensions in the machine’s mind as it struggles to understand such limited material. If these emotions are truly present, were they learned from the training material, or are they innate to the machine?

DU Magazine, Dec/Jan 2019/2020 issue