New artwork at the Smithsonian analyzes and interprets what you say

WASHINGTON (AP) – The artificial intelligence at the heart of a new art exhibition, ‘me + you’, doesn’t necessarily judge you, but it analyzes and interprets what you have to say.

Sponsored by Amazon Web Services, the sculpture by artist Suchi Reddy listens to what you have to say about the future and renders your feeling in a display of colorful lights and patterns.

The artwork is the centerpiece of a new exhibit at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building, which opens to the public for the first time in 20 years. The exhibition, titled Futures, opens on November 20.

Viewers are invited to interact with the sculpture, which listens to the words “My future is …” at several circular listening posts integrated into the sculpture.

The words and the feelings behind them are then reinterpreted as a pattern of colored lights. At a very basic level, positive emotions tend to translate into calming mixtures of blue, green, and purple. Expressions like anger cause a cascade of red.

No matter the feeling, Reddy said, “I want to show that all human emotions are beautiful.”

And interpretations will evolve and become more nuanced over time as artificial intelligence advances. Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of Amazon Machine Learning at Amazon Web Services, said the artwork incorporates sentiment analysis that not only decodes the meaning of words, but also a speaker’s feeling behind the words. .

Sivasubramanian said Amazon contributed 1,200 hours of programming to serve as the backbone of machine learning for the work.

“Machine learning is one of our most transformative technologies,” he said. “I’m excited that people are getting involved in machine learning in an artistic setting. “

The work uses various aspects of machine learning, including basic speech-to-text technology.

A companion website allows people to enter their thoughts on the internet and receive a visual interpretation of their feeling which is also added to the archive.

In an era of deep skepticism about the data being collected by Big Tech, Reddy and his team were careful to avoid any data collection other than people’s thoughts about the future. No video is recorded and there is nothing to track people’s expressions, Reddy said.

Other highlights of the exhibit include costumes from Marvel Studios’ movie “Eternals,” which is part of an interactive exhibit that shows how films help us imagine our future, and items such as a telephone. experimental Alexander Graham Bell and the first large-scale Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome. built in North America.

“In a world that feels perpetually tumultuous, it is possible to envision the future we want, not the future we fear,” said Rachel Goslins, Director of Building Arts and Industries.

The exhibition is expected to remain open until July 6. Finally, the “me + you” sculpture will move to Amazon’s new HQ2 headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.