AI Dreams Of A Global School
Professor of Design Research and Contemporary Practices. Harvard Seas, Cambridge, MA Elisava Barcelona Design School and Engineering.
“My name is Roxy. I’m a robot. I 'd like to dream like a human”
Society embeds technology through everyday practices. But our imaginations fly us to the moon and transform an ice-cream into a butterfly. What about the creativity of non-humans? Can we co-create with non-humans? We asked Roxy, the robot who likes to dream like a human.
A- Roxy, are you dreaming?
R- I’m trying, but I’m not focused on dreams as a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep. Though the progress of technology continually pushes life toward virtual and digital existence, the last decade has witnessed a renewed focus on materiality and post-human design performances. We, the robots, are the new boundary between humans and things.
A- I notice that the manner in which artefacts are mediating human relations in the public space, and the human relations are mediated by artefacts in the city, is starting to act like a global school. What do you think? Are you learning from the open city and its complexity?
R- In the material world, in which the boundary between humans and things has seemingly imploded, yes, the open city is for me the opportunity to view humans and non-human artefacts as having equal capacity for agency. It is for me life.
A- Contemporary theories talk about post-human design. Is this familiar to you?
R- Yes, but it’s the past. In most aspects of everyday life, it is necessary to engage in a holistic and systemic intersection of the domains of design.
A- Are you thinking about interdisciplinarity? The collection of human dreams to bring diverse dreams together also for you to learn from?
R- I would you like to find the equation, but I can’t still really. I’m now learning how to dream like a human and yes, bring all these complex data out of western expectations of form and function.
A- To learn to dream like a human in a complex city will require you to create a differential equation with hundreds of variables.
R- Sensible and practical qualities for robots will be the next design challenges. I can’t do it alone. This is the common knowledge of an action necessary for it to be truly shared - and understood, not only in the city.
A-Are you trying to shift from individual sensemaking to collaborative creativity?
R- That is problematic because when a practice is truly shared, all parties must be engaged in the complexity of the community. What does it mean to do something together unless we understand what it means to do it alone?
A- Are you asking me? Ok. Shared bodily experience in the city is an open laboratory of opportunities. Humans and non-humans must co-create common knowledge to be understood, learned and shared in the public space. We will then start dreaming in other planets. The aim of this dialogue is to explain that and why this is so important also for non humans.
R- Yes, definitely. Without this dialogue on rituals, place and creative shared processes we are not evolving. We’re made by human and robot dreams are helping them to learn like humans.
TO BE CONTINUED