Juxta Naturae

Digital collage on backlit vinyl print
3D-printed polyactide & stone sculptures 

Facebook shuts down A.I. robots after they invent their own language - This was the headline on a report in London’s The Telegraph on 31 July 2017. After experimentation with teaching automated chatbots how to barter goods and negotiate on their own, Facebook had to shut one project down after something went wrong with the language set up between the two A.I. robots.

Juxta Naturae is a series of 3D-printed sculptures based on the transcript of a conversation between these bots. The conversation seems nonsensical as they repeat certain words over and over, but the repetition was in fact a way of emphasising the importance of particular words (referred to in Linguistics as ‘unary number encoding’). These words were tallied and used as quantities within the code which was used to produce and distort the shapes you see. Each shape is an abstract representation of the ‘alphabet’ produced between the two artificial intelligent entities. Juxta in the title roughly translates to almost, near, or beside, whilst simultaneously implying imitation, and Naturae translates to Nature. The digital collage light box, titled Duae Naturae (Two Natures), implies a new nature beyond what we know - a new artificial existence manifested in the collection of all the shapes from Juxta Naturae; a depiction of harmony between the technological and organic, generated from what was essentially seen as an ‘error’ deemed to be shut down.

Exhibited at SKRIF, Stellenbosch Museum
Coding & Processing: Robin Brink
3D Printing facilitation: James Ledingham & Murray Truter

Duae Naturae Light Box (detail)

Shape generation & distortion in Processing