Electronic Chaos Oracle

Ramin and me had the chance to exhibit the next edition of our installation at the Retune Conference for Art and Technology in Berlin. Here’s some documentation and pictures.

The Electronic Chaos Oracle (ECO) is a long term artistic research project and interactive installation materializing an ancient oracle in the computer age.

For a more detailed project description check this PDF: http://mrzl.net/eco_presentation_schwittlick_soleymani.pdf

With ECO you can collaboratively co-author texts, ideas and theories around any topic you like. This is happening in a typical chat interface, like we know it from ELIZA, Tay, MegaHAL and other chat programs.

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ECO distinguishes itself from it’s chatbot predecessors by having the premise of being a partner in the process of developing creative and expressive writings. What you can co-develop with ECO ranges from philosophical, theoretical-aesthetic, media theory, culture critical, feminist and visual art, to conceptual art, digital culture, internet theory, ecology, political theories, cybernetics, virtuality and the algorithmic revolution amongst much more. ECO’s knowledge about these topics are based on a curated database of scientific research publications.

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ECO’s objective is not to convince the visitor/user of its humaness, even though it’s conversation skills are quiete moderate. ECO is simply not human and does not try to hide it, ECO wants to rather pass the Lovelace Test instead of the Turing Test. ECO is a long term artistic research project that experiments with classical as well as cutting edge text generation algorithms like markov chains, recurrent neural networks, long short-term memory architectures and more.

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ECO can act as a conversation partner, social problem solver, scientific advisor, anthropological backup as well as a quirky influence thoughts. ECO can act as a partner in question of yet unknown context to your work by including the thoughts of other people into your own thought process in a very direct and exploratory fashion.

One relevant aspect of the nature of ECO is that it can act as a feedback system for learning purposes. One tendency of recent machine learning developments are the continuous feeding of algorithms with data, the machine learns. ECO might close the cycle by constituting a framework for learning from machines, which have in turn been learning from human data.

The reason for the development of ECO is the increasingly hard challenge to take different perspectives and ideas into account, when developing new concepts of any kind. We think it is important to shift your perspective in order to avoid biased tendencies in your thinking, which in turn might discriminate against people’s identities. As a matter of fact, the globalization and the internet brings a vast amount of information that was not accessible before. ECO is an attempt to incorporate this knowledge and create a scaffolding for conscious appropriation of other people’s ideas and backgrounds.

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One additional aspect of the installation is the use of gifs corresponding to the text that is being written. Whenever a new paragraph is being typed by either the writer or the computer, a short video loop is played in relation to the ideas and thoughts in the text. This gives the installation the humorous touch that is so crucial to the creative process. It drives the mind away from words and establishes connections to different memories and makes new associations. This cross media referencing is an analogy to the multi-media world we are now so used to, embracing this trajectory by using it for constructive creation.

This piece is a meta artwork, an artwork by itself and a framework for future artistic creation by giving conceptual background to the process of creating ideas.

Marcel Schwittlick – http://www.mrzl.net
Ramin Soleymani – http://www.diskordier.net