Deep Feeling: AI and Emotions

Curator: Nohar Ben Asher 1.8.2019 - 28.12.2019

Combining an AI system, sensors, and texts, the installation Temporarily Enslaved Gods explores how global companies use technology to exert emotional influence. Fabio Lattanzi Antinori installs three interactive sculptures and a monitor in the exhibition space, which represent "filter bubbles" created by the "New Superpowers," Google, Facebook, and Amazon. The term "filter bubble" was coined by Internet activist Eli Pariser to describe the use of algorithms by Internet superpowers to guess what type of information a user seeks. This practice, he argues, isolates the user in a "bubble" that is impenetrable to data that clash with his preferences, thus confining users intellectually to the cycle of information to which they are exposed.
Lattanzi Antinori's three sculptures represent the types of "filter bubbles" created by each of the three giants, whose political interests compete on how to present data to users. The sculptures are static in the space, much like the filter bubbles, whose existence is not usually visible to the average user. Only when the viewer draws nearer and touches the sculptures is he exposed to a "debate" between the companies, which surrenders their interests. The texts were extracted from hearings in which these companies defended their actions, having violated the laws of ethics and user privacy, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's congressional hearing, and the letters exchanged between Senator Chris Coons and Amazon following a CNET investigation. and the defense speech of Amazon, which had been accused of excessive data gathering through the AI-powered voice assistant Alexa.
The technology activating the work is based on sensors and a deep learning code, which enable a live dialogue between the sculptures. The monitor presents their unique "emotional" temperaments, which are characterized by the psychological model of the Big Five personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. During the course of the exhibition we will find out which of the superpowers prevailed over the others in creating an ideological and emotional "filter bubble" around the users.

Supported by a bursary from a-n The Artists Information Company
and by the Italian Cultural Institute, Tel Aviv