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Reben: I had always been doing art in parallel with my engineering, math, and science studies.
Art I think is a compulsion and something I've sort of always done and I have to do.
[toy moos]
To me, there's no huge distinction between artwork and building robots,
or artwork and building AI systems.
I guess I had always been on a sort of nontraditional, weird trajectory.
[toy moos]
[anatomic head speaking in AI generated tongues]
I’d say my art is mostly about how humans and technologies are co-evolving together.
[anatomic head speaking in AI generated tongues]
Sometimes looking at where we've been, and definitely looking at
where we're going, and trying to point out some of the inevitable connections we have
with what's around us in machines or social interactions we have with computers.
My thesis work at the media lab was this robot called Boxie.
Boxie: I need help.
Reben: Boxie was a social robot, autonomous filmmaker and it would travel around being
cute, and it would ask people questions to try to elicit responses.
I would say that's sort of the kernel of where I began my studies in human machine interaction,
human machine collaboration.
[music playing]
I am using a system which is collaborating with me to create these images.
The way it gets there is interesting and sometimes hard to follow.
It's more about the conceptual process of it pulling body signals out from me.
So I have a subset of these amalGAN images which are ones that are creepy and they're usually
eyes, and faces, and things in dark alleys and stuff.
I think that's because the same signals that were like my excitement or interest in an
image that showed up also picked up on the fear response or like the creepy response.
The technology I use with my art is always changing.
I'd say every time I build something, I learn something new, either new technology, or I
learn about a new robot component or something.
And, you know, building up your toolbox of items you can use is
like, you know, building up colors you can use to paint with.
[music playing]
Art is a way to speak to an everyday person.
If you have an interactive experience with a technology-based artwork, you might be able
to understand something like AI a bit more intuitively
than you would reading a paper, or reading a news article.
I think it's important for people to think about technology because
it's becoming ever more integrated into who we are.