The Decision Tree
A downloadable game
A performative installation for cards and chess tables about the stories of power we make, give and hide away in A.I
There are at least 5 A.I in the device in your pocket. Now, what if...
This artificial intelligence also involves as much theater, as it does science?
The Decision Tree invites onlookers to construct AI definitions of their own, looking at their relationship to technology from the outside. Come watch a scripted game of impossible chess, pick a card, get an AI reading from a masked character, and leave with a story of your own!
PAST PERFORMANCES (11/14/21):
- Science in Theater Festival - The Cell Theater NY (11/14/21)
- Public performances at Ronald McNair Park & Lincoln Terrace, Brooklyn NY as part of NYC City Artist Corps (24/10/21)
In The Decision Tree, two masked Agents re-enact the last moves of a historical endgame of chess, played in 1809 between emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and the Mechanical Turk, a puppet engineered to hide a chess master in a box for years. This moment in history inspired politicians, poets and the designers of our earliest computers. It also sets the stage for this new interpretation, turned inside out.
The black box is an open cage, the data are the cards and props, and algorithms, a set of mysterious game instructions to apply to them. Here, the rules are exposed, the ending provided at the start, and still a myriad of interpretations remain.
A.I has no one agreed-upon definition to date. Yet somehow, we find and seek systems going by that name, in most aspects of our lives.
In the Decision Tree, each object, character, mask and game instruction manifests a principle of A.I in motion; a clock for efficiency, a mirror for human resemblance, cards as variable information input, black chess pieces for complex problems...
Can playing with words, story and simple game rules allow us to consider the presence of A.I in our private and public lives differently? Is the power in playing out the rules, or in making them? And when is handing your decisions off to technology worth the cost?
Try your luck with the AI interpretation card deck here -
(contact below for bookings)
Disclaimer: This artwork may leave you hungry for more facts around the AI in your life. If so, here are few recommendations to get you going:
- Non-profits and education: https://weandai.org/ & https://dataresponsibly.github.io/
- Research: https://www.turing.ac.uk/news/data-science-and-ai-glossary
- Related News: https://themarkup.org/ or MIT Review's The Algorithm (subscription)
The Decision Tree is presented with generous support from City Artist Corps Grants 2021 from New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). It also extends from an MFA thesis project at NYU’s Game Center titled "Handmade A.I"
For more information, click the link or contact: alina.constantin(at)nyu.edu.
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