Ghost in the machine

On May 26th, 2023, Ghost In The Machine (GITM), an art installation, was opened to the public at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Created by Purav Bhardwaj and Misha Sra, the installation delves into the human tendency to anthropomorphize artificial intelligence (AI). The concept of holon emphasizes that humans and machines are not isolated entities but rather interconnected elements within a larger system. Understanding their relationship through a holonic lens recognizes the dynamic, symbiotic nature of human-machine interactions, and the reciprocal influences that shape their evolution.

Using AI, the installation creates an environment filled with generative images, sound, and spoken responses, all synthesized by a collection of AI agents. The agents are designed to have distinct personalities and skills to enable diverse and nuanced dialogues between them that reflect the complexities of human communication. Participants engage with this collective AI-generated simulacra of personas with their conversations brought to life through immersive moving images. The installation attempts to forge an embodiment for an amorphous AI allowing spectators to experience the peculiar errors in the AI's comprehension through a visual metaphor of hallucinations revealing the limitations of our perception of agency and intentionality in the world around us.

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