‘More than human’: Wonders of AI on show in London

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An installation entitled Synthetic Apiary, by Neri Oman and The Mediated Matter Group, is pictured during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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An AI robot with a humanistic face, entitled Alter 3: Offloaded Agency, is pictured during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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An installation entitled Personal Food Computer v3.0, by during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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The robotic arms of the Makr Shakr cocktail maker are pictured as they mix a cocktail during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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An AI robot with a humanistic face, entitled Alter 3: Offloaded Agency, is pictured during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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The robotic arms of the Makr Shakr cocktail maker are pictured as they mix a cocktail during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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The robotic arms of the Makr Shakr cocktail maker are pictured as they mix a cocktail during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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An assistant looks at an installation entitled Myriad (Tulips) by Anna Ridler, during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
Updated 16 May 2019
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‘More than human’: Wonders of AI on show in London

  • Visitors will be able to take a journey from the long-held dream of creating artificial life to the reality of today’s most cutting-edge projects
  • There are also robots of all shapes and sizes, from Sony’s small dog Aibo to a large mechanical arm that prepares and serves cocktails

LONDON: Managing the health of the planet, fighting discrimination or boosting innovation in the arts; the fields in which Artificial Intelligence can help humans are countless, and an ambitious London exhibition aims to prove it.
Under the title “AI: more than human,” the immense Barbican cultural center brings together more than 200 installations, exhibits and projects by artists, scientists and researchers from all over the world.
From Thursday until August, visitors will be able to take a journey from the long-held dream of creating artificial life to the reality of today’s most cutting-edge projects.
An immersive space by Japanese collective teamLab forms one of the most intriguing exhibits, with art and science combining to let the visitor leave their mark on an evolving digital wall projection.
There are also robots of all shapes and sizes, from Sony’s small dog Aibo — whose first version from 1999 has now evolved into an AI model — to a large mechanical arm that prepares and serves cocktails.
Other exhibits explore the complex systems that keep big cities ticking over and push forward research into medical conditions from cancer to blindness.
The current limits of AI are investigated, including racial bias in some facial recognition software.
Properly designed AI can help prevent harm, Francesca Rossi, head of ethics at IBM Research, told AFP.
“If the machine can understand this concept of bias, then it can alert us if it sees that there is bias in our decision making,” she said.
Although the idea of decoding the human brain and imitating its functions was born in the mid-1950s, AI only exploded in 2010 thanks to very fast state-of-the-art processors that allow the analysis of huge amounts of data.
The machines have since come on leaps and bounds.
IBM’s Deep Blue beat Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997 while AlphaGo — developed by Google’s DeepMind team — in 2016 beat Lee Sedol, world champion in the 3,000-year-old Chinese board game known as Go.
Both are present in the exhibition, helping to outline how AI can help solve problems of enormous complexity, such as climate change.
“The thing that we dream about would be, what if a machine could say: ‘here is a clever way of changing how we run our economy that fixes climate’,” explained Swedish philosopher Anders Sandberg, Senior Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford.
But for that, “we need to find a good way of putting human values into machines so they will act without accidentally harming you,” he added, joking that AI could conclude the best solution was to eradicate human beings.
Despite its ambitious scope, the exhibition is only one part of a larger project called “Life Rewired,” which explores the impact of technology on society.
The center recently held a concert of baroque music composed by AI after analizing works by Johann Sebastian Bach.
“We gave the machine-learning algorithm all of Bach’s keyboard works,” explained the project’s architect Marcus du Sautoy.
“That’s a lot of music, but often machine-learning needs millions of data points to learn from,” added the Oxford mathematician.
He hopes to demonstrate that, rather than competing with humans, artificial intelligence can help humans “to think outside of our narrow creative window.”
“Humans get very stuck in ways of thinking, we often end up behaving like machines,” he said.


Bong d’Or: Korean director wins Cannes’ top prize

Updated 25 May 2019
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Bong d’Or: Korean director wins Cannes’ top prize

  • French-Senegalese director Mati Diop’s “Atlantics" wins festival’s second place award, the Grand Prize
  • Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne shared the best director for “Young Ahmed”

CANNES, France: South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s social satire “Parasite,” about a poor family of hustlers who find jobs with a wealthy family, won the Cannes Film Festival’s top award, the Palme d’Or, on Saturday.
The win for “Parasite” marks the first Korean film to ever win the Palme. In the festival’s closing ceremony, jury president Alejandro Inarritu said the choice had been “unanimous” for the nine-person jury.
The genre-mixing film had been celebrated as arguably the most critically acclaimed film at Cannes this year and the best yet from the 49-year-old director of “Snowpiercer” and “Okja.”
It was the second straight Palme victory for an Asian director. Last year, the award went to Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters.”
Two years ago, Bong was in Cannes’ competition with “Okja,” a movie distributed in North America by Netflix. After it and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” — another Netflix release — premiered in Cannes, the festival ruled that all films in competition needed French theatrical distribution. Netflix has since withdrawn from the festival on the French Riveira.
The festival’s second place award, the Grand Prize, went to French-Senegalese director Mati Diop’s “Atlantics.” Diop was the first black female director in competition at Cannes.
Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne shared the best director for “Young Ahmed.”
Best actor went to Antonio Banderas for Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory,” while best actress was won by British actress Emily Beecham for “Little Joe.”
Although few quibbled with the choice of Bong, some had expected Cannes to make history by giving the Palme to a female filmmaker for just the second time.
Celine Sciamma’s period romance “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” was the Palme pick for many critics this year, but it ended up with best screenplay.
In the festival’s 72-year history, only Jane Champion has won the prize in 1993, and she tied with Chen Kaige’s “Farewell My Concubine.”