This crowd-pleasing show throws robots, giant playthings and interactive paintings at viewers, but evidence of true creativity in machines is scarce
In 2016, a machine beat the world’s best (human) player at the ancient strategy game Go, which up to then was said to be too intuitive for a computer. AlphaGo’s victory was doubly stunning because it taught itself Go by trial and error. Does the fact that computers can now learn mean that artificial intelligence (AI) has moved from science fiction to reality?
The story of AlphaGo is told in a specially isolated display, almost like a little temple, at the heart of the Barbican’s sprawling survey of the past, present and future of machines that can think for themselves. It’s a show that’s sorely needed. AI is everywhere in the media, but public understanding of it is confused. It sometimes seems vested interests want to keep it that way. Why do tech companies create uncannily humanoid interfaces if not to fool us into believing their algorithms are consciously speaking to us? AI: More Than Human should be the exhibition that clarifies our understanding of AI and where it’s really at, but instead it opts for chaotic overload and a groovy utopianism that perpetuates the current blur in public discussion of reality and fantasy of this potentially earth-shaking technology.