proiect b
- Dorin Cucicov

Techno angst quadriptych addresses the field of artificial life in the context of the anthropocene. How is natural life influenced by exponential technological advances? Is Artificial Intelligence taking the right role in our society? The four modules construct a fictional Universe based on real facts. While an object of observation, the installation also stares back at the public. Are humans the ones in full control? It appears that lately nature and technology challenge this belief more and more.

Module I

A study from 2019 shows that training a single neural network model with big data can produce a carbon footprint comparable to 6 lifetimes of a car, including fuel. A lot of resources for training such models are in the hands of corporations like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. This leaves little resources for research studies such as enabling low-carbon electricity, improving social systems, forecasting extreme weather events, optimization of industry supply chains, etc.

With the help of a Siamese fighting fish, the current module recreates an alternative reality in which machine learning works in close contact with the natural world. Siamese fighting fish, also known as betta, are used in staged fights for gambling in Southeast Asia from the 19th century. Current breed of the fish is not found in the wild, being created by breeders through selection.

Cycling through stages of training and executing, this module implements a machine learning program. It analyzes fish behavior under different lighting conditions and then passes control to the fish who chooses its ambient lighting through movement and positioning. Several studies show greater range of activity under warmer colors like red, magenta and yellow while cooler colors like blue and green are associated with calm and withdrawal. This module uses a sequence of red, green, blue and white for training after which follows a sequence of free color choosing based on fish actions.

Module II

Boids is an artificial life program, developed by Craig Reynolds in 1986, which simulates the flocking behaviour of birds. It has been used in simulating other herding of animals such as fish in computer graphics. This artificial life simulation relies on the interaction of individual agents by separation, alignment and cohesion. Lately this algorithm has been used also in swarm robotics to generate complex behaviors through large numbers of simple physical robots.

Module III

This module uses a camera for facial recognition. No images are stored or recorded.

This robotic eye tracks the users in the exhibition reacting based on a face recognition algorithm. Being placed in a gallery it automatically takes the form of an object of observation, but at the same time it observes the observer creating an uncanny loop of questioning who is the observer and who is the object observed.

Module IV

This module displays the number of species that went extinct today.

There are a wide range of estimations regarding the number of species going extinct in contemporary times. Still more popular estimations calculate between 150-200 species of plants, insects, birds and mammals going extinct each day - the greatest rate since vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65 million years ago.