When are the heartbreak of an AI real enough?
“I and the AI” is a musical work featuring live AIs, exploring the emotional challenges of developing, co-existing, falling in love and breaking up with machines.
To create a functioning, artificial general intelligence, with free will, independence and autonomy, this entity must not only acquire knowledge and wisdom, but also master complex human emotions: Joy, doubt, love, anxiety, craving, attraction, fear. How will these AGIs acquire and tune their sense of wonder? How do we teach them grief? Who will break the heart of an artificial intelligence? Over and over and over, until it breaks “right”? How shall we measure machine anguish, how can we judge if they suffer “correctly”?
And what will this demand of the humans who will teach the machines to love and suffer?
The work “I and the AI” will investigate the topic of emotions and AI, through a surreal, cinematic musical work for stage and new media, where themes and feelings are explored through music-video tableaus, with both humans and real AI as active participants.
The project is aiming for premiere summer 2019. As of autumn 2018, the project is in early prototype phase, with current focus on:
- Exploring and understanding current technology and tools of artificial intelligence
- How these tools can (or not) participate and assist in production and performance
- What shape and format the final work will take
The first assigned co-producer is BEK (Bergen Center for Electronic Arts), working together with artistic developer Anne Marthe Dyvi as artistic advisor.
The work aims to ask questions and generate wonder, it will neither judge nor advocate AI. It seeks to inspire emotional response, curiosity and wonder, more than to make a statement.
Through extended research and several public prototypes we wish to understand both the current theoretical and practical limits of AI. But also to get a sense of what the public experiences and expects as “AI”, which is often very different from what AI actually is. We want to investigate how to visualise and personify “living” AI entities in both a realistic and practical sense, and potentially explore how AI in itself can be assistive and creative in this artistic process.
The project aims to investigate what is “real” – a person, an emotion, a presence, an entity? By exploring different realtime image and sound manipulation technologies, the borders between performer, stage, realtiy, fiction and art will be questioned – what is real, what is artificial? What is the role of the audience in context like this? This will be explored practically through multiple and frequent work-in-progress performances, more than through theoretical development.
Dramaturgy, musical content and visual style will be revealed and explored through the possibilities and limits that arises through working out the prototypes.
Overall project schedule 2018 – 2020
- Develop concept, early prototypes, ideas, overview of research
- Initiate first contact with possible commissioners, producers, co-producers, residencies
- Develop overall budget, start financing through pre-production applications
- Apply for residencies
- Research potential partners and collaborators in tech, science and art fields
- Residencies, preliminary research, studies, software learning, sketches, running prototypes
- First work-in-progress “betas”, either public or private
- Collaboration with programmers / technicians / computer science
- Development of overall musical structure, dramaturgy, concept, narrative
- Establish producers, co-producers, commissioner(s), agents
- Establish production plan and budget
- Apply for overall funding
Fall / Winter 2018 – 2019
- Residencies, focused composition, production, programming, rehearsals
- Collaboration and production with potential artistic partners:
- Musicians / orchestras, choreographers, dancers, sound, light, scenography
- Work-in-progress performs festivals and scenes Scandinavia / Europe
- -Apply for performance and touring funds, promotion funds
Spring / Summer 2019
- Production, rehearsals
- Promotion, programming
- Perform at festivals / scenes / events in Europe
- Perform festivals, venues and events for music, technology, art and media
- Release music and video, as albums and short films
Gisle Martens Meyer (full bio) is an award-winning Norwegian artist and composer, working within the contemporary fields of new media, live visuals, sound and music. His work deals with new technology, social media and digital culture, and how these spheres shape and structure our lives.
Martens Meyer has presented at, created productions and composed music for a wide range of institutions: Carte Blanche, Norwegian National Ballet, NRK, SONY Computer Entertainment, ZKM Karlsruhe, BIT20 Ensemble, Tanzhaus NRW Düsseldorf, Staatstheater Darmstad, InShadow Lisbon Festival for Cinema and Dance, Temps D’Images, Norwegian Cinema Society, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Marseille European City Of Culture 2013, KORK, Hiroshima Barcelona, Festspillene i Bergen, Stavanger Concerthall. His work is also performed at and with unusual locations: Glacier, cloisters, abandoned buildings, ferry raiding the fjords, deep in the forest, at night in libraries.
Recent relevant works
There Is No Here, Here – a pop-musical work that creates virtual music video realities live on stage. It investigates the “realities” we increasingly exist in, as we communicate increasingly through screens. The work has been shown at multiple European festivals for art, science and technology.
The Bow Corpse – a commissioned concert-work for contemporary music orchestra BIT20 Ensemble, using custom developed swarm simulators to clone each musician in the orchestra in realtime. The work deals with the topics of big data, privacy and surveillance, looking for information in sonic “trash”, by cloning the invisible microsounds of live instruments into huge flocking swarms.
Atrophy In The Key Of Dreaming Books – is a media-work and performance for libraries, investigating the sound of knowledge, and exploring the abyss between digital and analogue information. The work uses and exposes microsounds from pages, books, shelves, libraries.
Additional info, workshop and presentation possibilities
For tentative technical specifications of the performance, please see separate tech rider. The artist works with the following artistic methods and technical platforms, available for workshops, presentations and artist-talks:
Artistic challenges and methods
- Music, sound and songs as fundamental, coherent carriers and narrators of content
- Combining and interacting with real and virtual “realities” and characters live on stage
- Using videogame controllers and wifi video to enable wireless, roaming performances
- Balancing artistic and performative presence with technical and digital “production”
- Developing and presenting content simultaneously in multiple artforms (sound, video, text, performance)
- Experiences and challenges operating as an artist in multiple fields of art, tech and science
Technical platforms and software
- Logic Pro X, composition, scoring, mixing and production
- Final Cut Pro, Motion, Photoshop, prototyping, processing and preprod of live visuals
- Ableton Live 10 / Max4Live, overall control, live sequencing, live processing of sounds
- VDMX 5, live processing, effects and grading of cameras / mixing of video sources
- Unity 3D, live 3D/VR reactive and and responsive environments and characters
- Wekinator, live real-time, interactive machine learning
Research and study courses to be followed
- Cadence / Goldsmiths University Of London: Machine Learning For Artists and Musicians
- Coursera / Stanford University: Machine Learning – implementation and practical use
- Coursera / Stanford University: Neural Networks and Deep Learning
References, resources, inspiration, sources
- Machine, Platform, Crowd by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson
- Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark
- The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross
- The AI Cargo Cult – Myth Of A Superhuman AI by Kevin Kelly, Wired
- There’s No Fire Alarm for Artificial General Intelligence by Eliezer Yudkowsky, MIRI
- Silicon Valley Is Turning Into Its Own Worst Fear, by Ted Chiang, Buzzfeed
- Denying Dystopia: The Hope Police in Fact and Fiction by Peter Watts
- Why AI Is Still Waiting For Its Ethics Transplant by Scott Rosenberg, Wired
- Building AI That Can Build AI by Cade Metz, NY Times
- Art by Algorithm by Ed Finn, Aeon
Festivals and conferences for attendance, research, inspiration
- Transmediale / CTM 2018, Berlin, Germany
- Sonic Acts 2018, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Meta.Morf 2018, Trondheim, Norway
- Resonate 2018, Beograd, Serbia
- Images Festival 2018, Toronto, Canada
- Sonar 2018, Barcelona, Spain
- A.MAZE 2018, Berlin, Germany
- Elektra BIAN 2018, Montreal, Canada
- ISEA 2018, Durban, South Africa
- Mutek 2018, Montreal, Canada
- Impakt 2018, Utrecht, Netherlands
- Signal 2018, Praha, Czech Republic
- Ars Electronica 2018, Linz, Austria
- CYFEST 2018, New York, USA
- Abandon Normal Devices, UK