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What can we learn by critically evaluating how we interact with, tell stories about, and project logic, intelligence, and sentience onto systems and machines? AI in Art & Design is focused on making expressive works that deal with the cultural and social dimensions of artificial intelligence. The goal is to provoke meaningful reflection in a variety of arenas, including in areas of privacy, human agency, philosophy, and moral responsibility.

From August 8-13, at Harvard Art Museum's Lightbox Gallery, metaLAB will be exhibiting five new artistic projects playfully and critically engaging different aspects of Artificial Intelligence.

There will be four gallery talks, and a launch event on Monday, August 7th in 214A Lewis Hall at Harvard Law School from 5-6pm.

This event is inspired and supported by the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative, a research project at the Berkman Klein Center. In conjunction with MIT's Media Lab, the Initiative is developing activities, research, and tools to ensure that fast-advancing AI serves the public good.

Nobody’s Listening video still, 2017

Nobody’s Listening
Sarah Newman & Rachel Kalmar
Video installation with sound

Tuesday, August 8, 10 am-5 pm
Gallery talk, 3 pm

Nobody's Listening is an artistic multimedia piece that draws on a database of secrets collected through interactive art installations over the past year. The work expresses human secrets through overlapping computer voices and a visual projection. Why do we trust our phones and computers? Where does the physical self end and the digital self begin? The playful installation explores our intimate but dubious relationship to machines, and reflects back our own humanness.

Turing’s Mill video still, 2017

Turing's Mill
Matthew Battles
Multi-channel video installation

Wednesday, August 9, 10 am-5 pm
Gallery talk, 3 pm

Technologies are emerging that prompt a new public dialogue around the nature of cognition, consciousness, and the self. And yet questions underpinning this dialogue have fascinated philosophers throughout history. Is the mind a machine, like a mill or mechanical calculator; or is it spirit or essence, something made of colorless, massless, motionless stuff, transcendent and eternal? Can machines think—and have they been thinking all along? A multi-channel video installation, Turing's Mill is a kind of dossier of evidence for addressing these questions, gathered from found footage, new imagery, and the history of technology.


Jonathan Sun
Interactive chatbot

Thursday, August 10, 10 am-5 pm
Chatbots are curious, sometimes helpful, and sometimes mystifying “creatures.” The subject of this installation is a chatbot named Sherlock, touted to be among the most advanced, intelligent AIs on the planet. So why would it want to talk to humans? This interactive installation will invite visitors to chat with Sherlock, a chatbot unlike one they’ve ever met.

Color Rx
Maia Leandra
Interactive Installation with color prescriptions

Friday, August 11, 10-4 pm
Gallery talk, 3 pm

Color is ephemeral and complex. Its history, its substance, and its context link inextricably to our perceptions and experience. Color Rx uses a computer algorithm to diagnose a viewer’s subjective inputs and “prescribe a color” in response. The piece is grounded in questions about trust in or benefit from “smart” systems, often in contexts where the algorithms are opaque -- even when the output is very concrete (and in this case, colorful). In what ways is this system smart? Is it also intuitive, or even wise?  The installation contends with the meaning we ascribe to perceptions and experiences, especially when such experiences are designed for individual consumption. While many algorithmic forms of diagnosis can be shallow, the benefits can be deep. Drawing on historical information from the Forbes Pigment Collection, citations to scholarly texts, and the artist’s personal store of knowledge and intuition in the field, this piece explores the line between belief and truth, projection and reality, color and illusion.


AI Senses video still, 2017

AI Senses
Kim Albrecht
Sensors, software, computer, screen

Saturday/Sunday, Aug 12-13, 10 am-5 pm
Gallery talk, Saturday, Aug 12, 3 pm

In current times, “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence” are buzzwords. But they are more than that—they influence our behaviors and understandings of the technologies they describe and the world they make. A lack of understanding of how these systems operate on their own terms is dangerous. How can we live and interact with this alien species, which we set forth into the world, if we know it through interfaces constructed to make the machine feel closer to the world we already know? This project visualizes sensor data that our cell phones and personal computers collect and digest on our behalf, to help us understand how these machines experience the world.

Past Event
Monday, August 7, 2017 - Sunday, August 13, 2017
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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Explores the digital arts and humanities through research, teaching, publications, and exhibitions