“Sorry, man with a smile, cap and mustache, for killing most of humanity,” an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered screen tells a visitor who enters the door of the “Skewing Museum,” a new exhibition dedicated to this. controversial technologies in San Francisco.
Simultaneously disturbing and amusing – traits common to most of the exhibited works – the computer is programmed to identify and identify three characteristics of every person that enters its field of vision.
“The idea is that we live in a post-apocalyptic world where artificial intelligence destroyed most of the people. Then he realized that he was wrong, and created a kind of memorial for them,” Audrey explains with a laugh. exhibition.
So-called “general” AI is an even more nebulous concept than that of artificial intelligence.
“This is an AI capable of doing everything that humans are capable of, as well as influencing itself (…) as an object capable of, for example, self-healing,” the curator suggests.
San Francisco and neighboring Silicon Valley are teeming with startups developing different types of AI. Some dream of one day interacting with a machine almost like a human.
Realistic or not, these ambitions and these efforts have a strong “destructive potential,” Audrey Kim emphasizes.
With her temporary exhibition, which she hopes to make permanent, she wants to spark reflection on the current and future dangers of AI.
– Optimization –
In the center of the room is a reworked version of Michelangelo’s famous painting The Creation of Adam, where an imaginary AI detected a leg with 98% certainty, a human (84%), and God (60%).
Next, the piano plays music composed by real AI without human intervention, based on the growth of bacteria grown in the laboratory.
Audrey Kim especially likes a statue called “The Paperclip Embrace” or “Etreinte en trombones”: two busts of people holding each other in their arms, made entirely of paper clips.
The work refers to the metaphor of the philosopher Nick Bostrom, who in the 2000s imagined what would happen if real artificial intelligence was programmed to create paper clips.
“She could become more and more powerful and constantly optimize herself for her sole purpose, to the point of destroying all of humanity in order to flood the world with paperclips,” says the director.
She’s been interested in the implications of AI and “machine learning” since she worked at Cruise, a self-driving car specialist, a few years ago.
An “incredible” technology that “could reduce human error” but also presents risks, she says.
AI innovation seemed to pick up speed last year with the breakthrough of software capable of instantly generating all kinds of text and images based on user requests.
Their ability to express themselves like humans is so deceptive that a Google engineer, later fired, said last spring that AI is now “conscious.”
– Calligrams –
In the near future, generative AI is a concern for both teachers (who have encountered essays written with ChatGPT), artists (whose work has been used to teach certain models) and many other professions.
Associations have also been fighting for years against invasions of privacy (through facial recognition) and algorithmic biases that replicate existing discrimination (such as in recruitment software).
Sam Altman, founder of OpenAI, the startup behind the GPT-3 model and ChatGPT, defines general AI as “AI systems in general will be smarter than humans.”
Its appearance seems inevitable to him, and he thinks that, well organized, it will “lift up humanity.”
On the lower floor of the exhibition, on the dystopian floor, a machine powered by GPT-3 writes vengeful calligrams against humanity in cursive.
Alongside this, philosopher Slavoj Zizek and director Werner Herzog communicate endlessly through ultra-realistic dialogues and AI-generated voices.
This work warns against “deepfakes”, the montage of images, sound or video, the purpose of which is to manipulate public opinion.
“We only started this project five months ago, and yet a lot of the technology on display here already seems almost primitive,” notes Audrey Kim, as robot vacuums scurry around the room, topped with outdated brooms.