Archive

Bots and the Rise of Digital Folk Art

I’m inter­est­ed in what hap­pens when artists who are used to being artists decide that the best place for a work is with­in a space that seems to require an entire­ly dif­fer­ent method of con­struc­tion. And of course, there’s no harsh line between forms, and plen­ty of peo­ple exist both as highly-proficient work­ing artists and excep­tion­al­ly skilled pro­gram­mers. Tons of them, right? But I’m not talk­ing so much about the skill or even back­ground. Instead of I’m inter­est­ed in men­tal­i­ty.

Don’t Be Human

With Twitter bots and a lot of AI in pop sci­ence, it’s kind of like stay­ing up late with your par­ents. Once you ask to be treat­ed like a human being, you have to abide by a dif­fer­ent set of rules. You have to be extra good. And the sec­ond you mis­be­have, you get sent to bed. Because you didn’t play by the rules that you were agree­ing to be judged by.

Building Personable Machines

When Darius asked me to speak I had to think a lit­tle bit about what I would say to peo­ple who make soft­ware agents, which I think is real­ly real­ly cool. And to me, in think­ing about it, I think what is a bot to me? A bot is fun­da­men­tal­ly a piece of soft­ware that involves per­son­al­i­ty. And I’ve had a long-running inter­est in build­ing phys­i­cal robots that have per­son­al­i­ty of vary­ing degrees. So I pro­posed to give a talk about that.

How Thinking about Translation Can Help You Think about Bots

The com­mon­ly asked ques­tions is, Does this bot sound human?” And the ques­tion that I think is a lit­tle bit more inter­est­ing is why do so many bots that win the Loebner Prize sound pret­ty much exact­ly the same? They’re real­ly sim­i­lar to each oth­er. Maybe they all have a par­tic­u­lar type of default human being in mind, the peo­ple who design these bots. But if so, who is this par­tic­u­lar mys­te­ri­ous default human being?

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