Your own personal robot will prepare your dinner and iron your shirts at your command. Initially, you did not need to talk to the robot; what only mattered was its competent performance and a faithful service according to your command. Human’s desire did not stop there. Humans are not satisfied only with functional needs but they go one step further. As Aristoteles summed it up in his wisdom that humans desire ‘necessity, fun and empathy’, our desire has evolved from a robot which fulfills our physical needs by its service to the one which is intelligent and able to offer ‘fun’ and ‘empathy’. Driven by such needs and desire, we now have the age of super AI, which has evolved from the weak AI and strong AI.
AI may be able to have fun playing games with family members and be a conversation companion, providing you with knowledge and consultation, as well as its usual work of doing all the house chores. Utilizing the huge amount of data and the process speed it has, the AI will give you the upfront answers with all the experience accumulated in the data. We call it as our assistant for now but in fact, it may function as the key decision maker of a household with such capabilities.
Then, will we thank for all of these abilities at all times? Any possibility of its presence having negative effect on human relationships or anyone feeling left out? When the age of AI comes, will humans still bother to have the complex and draining human relationships? Will people carry on bearing hopes for other person who always disappoints them or making sacrifices for others?
Many people talk about the upcoming social isolation of human but it may shock us how AI may end up alienating people from their own home.
Are we overreacting, and needlessly driving us into a sense of fear as Mark Zuckerberg or Steven Pinker pointed out?
Or will AI actually bring the Doomsday of human being as Steven Hawkins or Elon Musk has predicted?
Steven Pinker is optimistic in his prediction on the future of the super AI saying, “If we don’t do something about it, we will face existential crisis. However, there is no reasons to think that we won’t do anything about it.” (Munk Debates, 2015)
We don’t have to discuss as far as the demise of the human beings. With the advent of the AI, the balance of material prosperity is even more skewed with only a few having it all, and privacy protection will become more difficult. Without having the device of checking against each other in place, the new technology and the new wealth will only benefit a handful of companies and individuals, widening the gap with the have-nots. In the midst of all this, can we claim that the area of creation is only possible through our talents and give ourselves some comfort?
We certainly would like to console ourselves thinking creativity is a unique asset to human being but about 70 years ago, Alan Turing, often labeled as the father of computers, forecasted that there would be nothing that AI cannot imitate human being.
With all its incredible amount of data and the processing speed, situational understanding based on thinking and inference, continuous self-learning and accumulated experience…As the AI stores and makes use of all these, will they be able to perform creation? If the data and algorithms of AI can deal with the human mind and the mechanism of human mind (‘Conversation with Super AI, Dr Seung Do Jee) would it not be possible that they can empathize and offer comfort to human feelings?
There may be people who are stuck in their choices between the delivery and birth of human being and purchase of AI. Who needs marriage in this era? The thinking that buying a considerate, pleasant and good-looking AI will provide you with more efficiency and convenience may spread across the whole society, becoming a social phenomenon.
At this point, we must think about what human beings really are. What about the relationship between humans and machines? Will artists make use of AI in their works either as a media or a subject? Will artists face job security threat from AI? What is the purpose and direction of all this remarkable development of technology? Why is there no question on why there has to be a technology development? Is there only IT and no CT? What about the relationship between the human and AI, and the human and things?
With all these questions on the topic of “In the era of AI, our search for the future of the arts & preparation for the new creative environment and institutions begins”, artists from ZER01NE gathered in one place (LOVOT LAB, Sungmin Park, Seungsoon Park, Yangachi, Yesung Lee)
LOVOT LAB once designed their work in which the fortune-telling AI robot, LOVOT LAB and the monument of the Charters of Robot Ethics stand facing each other. The work shows that now is the time to talk about AI and ethics in the midst of technology development.
AI, made with imitation of human mechanism based on human desire, does not lie in the ground of division with a criterion of being ethical or not. Along with the development in technology, the ethical awareness of human beings that can account for such development will have to follow and the proper device of cross-check shall be in place and put into practice.
Artists Sungmin Park and Seungsoon Park worked on ways of utilizing AI in practical aspects and at the same time expressed their concerns on the possible threat of AI invasion into arts market.
In his days in college, his classmates were hostile to him so preoccupied in computer music. Now, he thinks he may be considering AI with the same perspective and AI can act as the competitor in the arts creating market (Sungmin Park). Artists or creators are not an exception to the ambiguity and threat AI poses.
In the future, we might even have a classification identifying whether the composer is a human or AI in music products.
Seungsoon Park used AI in his attempt to make realistic images into sound. He showed how images can be connected to language (words) and sound. When image is entered, words are connected and sound loading is performed. Depending on the issues that each artist wants to deal with AI can be utilized in various ways.
Artist Yesung Lee questioned on the existence of human being, AI and things. In the company promotional advertisement of Hyundai Motor Group, “Sally”, he asked who actually Sally was, and if a person rides on an advanced vehicle (through the technology), whether the person can be upgraded from Homo Sapiens to Homo Deus. Through the topic of Sally, questions such as who will be the main actor of the future era, whether it will be human being or AI, how the succession of wealth will take place in the future, etc. were discussed together and had a chance to contemplate on symbolic meanings in images and the fate of human being in the midst of modern technology development.
In the era of IoT where everything is connected via internet, there may be new type of materialism emerging. Spinoza’s assertion that objects have spirits is at last being realized. It is our job to prepare and newly configure our society with these changes.
Artist Yesung Lee also focused on internet-based objects and explained the networking between the materials and non-materials through her works. In the future era of ambiguity and hybrid, we will need abstract approaches of thinking from oriental philosophies and not the linear perspectives of western society.
Humans break down easily in their body and mind. Humans feel useless, experience both betrayal and despair, go after things with no utility, and continuously skeptical even though the answers are already obvious, and enjoy the process and pursuit itself for truth…Most of all, humans can regret, grieve and go through trial and error. Of many characteristics of human being, for her, the way that human beings questions and doubts gave comfort.
“For example, it is a positive thing that AI helps doctors in their disease research. What would happen, if doctors no longer pose questions because AI has always been right for such a long time?” (Noel Sharkey, a professor in AI and robotics, University of Sheffield, UK)
We need in-depth thoughts and decisions on the matter of not letting AI make important decisions, especially when what matters is not how to do things better functionally but discretion and deliberation. Such decision is also based on the ethics and dignity of human being.
In the future, the relationship between human beings and machines, and that between humans will change. Now is a time to look into the fundamental essence of human existence. That may be the role saved for arts and artists. Robots can provide us with functional, effective answers but on this problem, we no longer need the “exact answers” but the anguished thoughts and searching toward the true meaning of human being can only be performed by human artists.