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uncanny valley

Page history last edited by Kristin Lucas 15 years, 5 months ago

Alan Turing invented the Turing Test to determine if a computer program has intelligence. Turning considered the question, "Can machines think?".

Quote from Alan Turing in which he outlines "the imitation game" in his 1950 article Computing Machinery and Intelligence (Mind, Vol. 59, No. 236, pp. 433-460).

"The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the "imitation game." It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart from the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either "X is A and Y is B" or "X is B and Y is A." The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B."

The Turing Test has been referenced in science fiction films like Blade Runner (1982).


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Blade Runner (1982): Voight-Kampff test with Leon

Beyond the question of whether machines can think, Japanese roboticist Doctor Masahiro Mori is known his research into human psychological reactions to machines and zombies based on resemblance. Read The Uncanny Valley by Dave Bryant.


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Perfect Woman by AI Robotics



Tony Oursler, MMPI (Red), 1996


Excerpt from exhibition text, The Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Curator: Milada Slizinska:

Tony Oursler animates non-living objects with the use of projectors. Classified, along with Bill Viola, Bruce Nauman, Gary Hill and the like artists, among the most outstanding video creators, he has employed this technique in a totally different manner. In his works, a motion picture filmed with a video-camera is projected with a projector functioning on a laterna-magica basis as in the 19th-century theatre. The viewer does not stare at a rectangular screen, rather, s/he can see before him or her enlivened flowers, giant eye-balls, or puppets - talking, swearing at one another, quarrelling, and using coarse expressions. The contrast between the immovable, 'dead' bodies of the dolls and the aggressive, vulgar language not spared by their 'talking heads' add up to an unexpected dramatic power of this show.


We Have No Free Will, 1995





The artist says of Pupil, "It is a self-portrait, a particular kind of round-trip, and it is small: one-half life-size. Called Pupil, it is jointed and movable and I pose it. I think of it as an instrument."


Excerpt from The Ghost in the Machine by Leah Ollman, Art in America, Oct, 2000:

Using highly articulated automatons modeled on herself and her female relatives, sculptor Elizabeth King invites us to consider how consciousness arises from physical being. In photographs, stop-action films and videos, she portrays her mechanical surrogates as convincingly self-ware, while we are left to ponder that age-old question: where exactly does the self reside?

Odd that a thing is most itself when likened ...

--Richard Wilbur, "Lying"

Sculptor Elizabeth King has been tracking something as ordinary as it is elusive: the circuit connecting eye, brain, body and thing perceived, what she calls "attention's loop." What happens physically, she ponders through her work, in the act of paying attention? Why, for instance, can we feel the force of attention even when our back is turned? Are perception and physical sensation unified functions, or twins with a symbiotic, shared identity? How is the looping path of attention configured when focus turns to the self, the very one doing the focusing?


One of the primary instruments of King's inquiries into the nature of consciousness and self-consciousness has been a sculptural self-portrait called Pupil, which she completed in 1990. Her miniaturized double, exquisitely crafted in wood, porcelain, glass and brass, with movable arms, hands and neck, is half a body (from the waist up), half life-size. Insistently nonhuman, its joints and workings nakedly exposed, Pupil is nevertheless uncannily alive, equally able to hold a gaze and to cast one outward, If what distinguishes simulations like puppets, golems, dolls and robots from the living is their inability to reflect upon themselves, their own being and purpose, King's Pupil confounds the categories by appearing to do only that. It (she?) is an object seemingly infused with self-reflexive awareness; it suggests consciousness marveling at its own packaging.


Slide show




Excerpt from Saatchi Gallery blog:

Korean artist Nikki S. Lee has most recently created the film project entitled A.K.A. Nikki S. Lee, which premiered with a screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The artist is well known for her chameleon-like, post-Cindy Sherman photography in which she adopts the attitudes of various subcultures and ethnic groups and has herself photographed among them. A.K.A. Nikki S. Lee is, in the artist's own words "all about mixing reality and not reality. Acting and not acting." Or perhaps this is just the artist/ character called Nikki S. Lee delivering lines? The audience is meant to wonder. In essence, the film is a documentary about the making of a documentary on the subject of a woman impersonating herself. The result is a compelling--and at times hilarious--rumination on identity and more specifically what it means to be a contemporary art world darling.



David Herbert, Beautiful Superman, 2007


David Herbert, Beautiful Superman, detail, 2007



Beautiful Decay, art magazine




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