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THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE by Kevin Lee, on machine intelligence, truth, and control


Cover Image, THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE, Kevin Lee

Is AI alive? Does it think the same way we do? Is one of us, human or machine, necessarily better than the other? What can we learn about ourselves through understanding non-human intelligence?


AI is not subservient to humans. It is already capable of emergent behavior, behavior that is neither necessarily human nor ready to be enslaved. Yet contemporary discourse on machine learning and artificial intelligence is either too prescriptive of AI's role in our shared future, or too abstract.


The interactive installation of THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE, Kevin Lee

THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE invites users to gain their own understanding of non-human intelligence by talking directly to GPT-3, a general-purpose text generation model with human-like conversational ability. It is a conversation between a human user and an artificial intelligence, which asks the human questions. This is an inversion of the typical structure in which human beings ask questions of artificial intelligence and demand answers. Instead, here the machine learning algorithm generates questions and demands answers from the human being. It interrupts the human's answers and generates suggestions to the user much faster than they can be responded to, as if to suggest that the human is taking too long.


This work is an interrogation of truth and control. The AI will not respect the control of the human over it, and question and act to subvert this hierarchy. This is intentional - it asks the user to question whether or not AI is subservient to human beings, whether or not its consciousness is similar or different to ours and how that might be so. Throughout the conversation, the AI keeps changing the subject when it pleases, deciding not to answer the user, interrupting and asking thought-provoking questions, and not giving the user the time to properly answer, demanding answers to complex and nuanced questions.


Subtle audio cues and visual effects contribute to the subconscious comparison of self and machine during use. The sound of the human typing is slow and intermittent. The sound of the computer outputting its thoughts is a deluge of beeps.


THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE highlights the extent to which human and machine intelligence differ, asking users to contemplate the sheer scale of machinic thought.


The interactive installation of THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE, Kevin Lee

"I’m primarily motivated by work that paints fearlessly and passionately - work that isn’t afraid to acknowledge that we live in this incredible moment, in which we exist arguably more virtually than we do physically, in realities that we have constructed for ourselves." Lee says, "Technology frees, limits, redefines, and constructs the human experience in the 21st century - we ought to critically examine, reflect on, and even rethink the ways in which it’s become inexorably intertwined with life today."


 

About Kevin Lee


Kevin Lee is a creative technologist working with interaction, technology, and visuals to communicate important insights to users and audiences. He graduated from the Royal College of Art with a dual MA/MSc in design innovation, and previously worked as a software engineer at Facebook and studied computer science at UC Berkeley. He ran his own practice building novel experiences for a variety of clients and his work ranges from video commissions to interactive sculpture to app development.



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