How AI Impacts Daily Life, From Cats to Drag Queens At the Science Gallery, London


  • Artists are using AI creatively to challenge conventional perceptions and explore its capabilities.
  • AI’s influence extends to animal interactions, such as measuring cat happiness with robotic arms.
  • Artists harness AI for social good, highlighting its potential in diverse domains beyond tech corporations.

A captivating scene unfolded at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in early June – a flamboyant drag cabaret in full swing. The mesmerizing performance featured a rotating cast of drag kings and queens, adorning bold looks, dancing, and lip-syncing with fervor to iconic songs. However, this spectacle held a twist – the performers were deepfake creations, constantly morphing into new personas, one evidence of an elaborate AI impact on the audience. This masterpiece, titled “The Zizi Show,” created by artist Jake Elwes, stands as the centerpiece of the museum’s new photography galleries, reflecting the ever-growing intersection between art and artificial intelligence (AI).

In the modern age, AI impact is beyond its origins in Silicon Valley’s tech behemoths. AI tools are now generating drag cabarets and crafting award-winning photos, film scripts, and articles. The latest version of the text generator ChatGPT has even managed to pass a legal bar exam. Amidst these advancements, concerns ranging from misinformation and privacy to existential threats have emerged, urging artists to wield AI as a critical tool to dissect its capabilities and limitations.

Art beyond the black box

Artists employ AI in unexpected and thought-provoking ways, diverging from its conventional portrayal as an inscrutable “black box.” These creators turned DIY programmers, are constructing works illuminating the intricate interplay of a technology that seemingly knows no bounds.

At the Science Gallery in London, the exhibition “AI: Who’s Looking After Me?” dives into how AI already impacts daily life. While headline-grabbing innovations often overshadow AI’s potential in healthcare, border control, and dating apps, the exhibition aims to shed light on these lesser-known applications.

One installation, “Looking for Love (2023),” created by the theater-makers and artists collective Fast Familiar, raises questions about whether AI can truly comprehend love. The installation prompts users to provide data that aids an AI chatbot in understanding romantic partnerships to craft a matchmaking algorithm. This seemingly futile exercise – selecting images containing “love” – poignantly underscores the elusiveness of attempting to teach a machine such complex human emotions.

Beyond humans

AI’s reach extends beyond human-to-animal interactions as well. “Cat Royale (2023),” a creation by Brighton-based art group Blast Theory, showcases an experiment where three cats interact with a robotic arm over 12 days. The AI-driven arm offers treats and games, measuring the cats’ happiness through a human observer and an AI trained on cat video clips. This display prompts viewers to contemplate delegating domestic care tasks to AI. As Blast Theory’s co-founder, Matt Adams, points out, these systems are data processors that magnify existing biases.

AI for social good

Some artists are harnessing AI’s power for social and environmental good. Artist Jake Elwes noticed AI’s difficulty in recognizing trans and gender-nonconforming individuals due to limited data diversity. Elwes initiated photoshoots with drag kings and queens to reclaim AI from oppressive biases, training AI systems on this diverse dataset. A significant aspect of this process was ensuring consent and fair compensation for performers.

Artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg follows a similar path, employing AI in her “Pollinator Pathmaker” project. Collaborating with scientists, Ginsberg’s algorithm creates garden planting schemes that maximize support for pollinators like bees and butterflies. This endeavor not only demonstrates the potential of AI for environmental benefit but also questions the societal preference for innovation over preservation.

Artists as reflective innovators

The role of artists in the AI landscape goes beyond mainstreaming technology; it’s about introspective exploration. Artists possess the unique ability to analyze and redefine technologies without the pressure of functionality critically. Jake Elwes aptly articulates this, highlighting how artists can envision alternative ways of using technology.

Amidst the ongoing AI revolution, these artists provide a different perspective. As the AI domain remains opaque and ever-expanding, these creators illuminate its workings, applications, and ethical implications. As technology surges ahead, artists act as guiding lights, reminding us that understanding, reflection, and responsibility should accompany innovation.

While the AI bubble’s future is uncertain, these artists contribute to a nuanced conversation that renders the “black box” less foreboding. Through their creations, AI transitions from an enigmatic behemoth to a tool that can be wielded with care and understanding for societal advancement and critical self-reflection.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Glory Kaburu

Glory is an extremely knowledgeable journalist proficient with AI tools and research. She is passionate about AI and has authored several articles on the subject. She keeps herself abreast of the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and writes about them regularly.

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