AI (society of the mind)
The study and development of robotics, or rather the developing relationships that we have with robots, is one of the most interesting areas of scientific research where technology, mathematics and psychology all intersect. Of the many questions posed by progress in robotics, those relating to the morality of such developments are paramount. If we can now programme robots to act independently, where does that leave us? Once seen only as a figment of the imagination the robot has crept slowly up beside us, and today stands closer than ever before. Now, we ask ourselves: just how far are we willing to let this technology into our lives? Current research suggests it might be far closer than you think. My ‘AI’ project (on-going) began as a photographic study of humanoid robotics in development in labs in the UK and in Europe. Of particular interest was the rapid growth of social robotics, which – like laptops and home computers – are developed to be used habitually in the home. For ‘AI’ I photographed robotic projects at the University of Hertfordshire, MIT’s Museum in Boston, in the collection of The Royal Museum of Scotland and Japan. Often I found myself photographing objects that – whilst sophisticated in their engineering and ambitious in regards to their potential – were lacking in physical terms. In the Robot House, for example, social robot prototypes were often scuffed and dented shells, held together only with gaffer tape, and this seemed important to document.