During the sunset hour, light falls through the channel of mirrors in Samara Golden’s installation creating the soft spectacle of a day closing. Golden’s installation, Upstairs at Steve's, deftly navigates memory, landscape, illusion, and grief, magically rendering a profound reflection of this unprecedented time.
A defining characteristic of this current moment is an overwhelming feeling of isolation coupled with a pervasive, wired connectivity. We are alone and yet more connected. There are worldwide calls for "engagement", "togetherness", "empathy" and yet our primary means of communication is reliant on mediated forms of technology. We began to wonder in this unsteady time, how do we reflect on our days? How can we understand this moment with empathy? Can technology help us?
The Turing test, developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. Now, seventy years later, we were prompted to ask: Can a machine develop empathy? And if so, would it now pass the Turing Test?
With these questions, we reached out to Chris Callison-Burch of University of Pennsylvania’s Computer and Information Science Department which led to a partnership with his PhD student Ajay Patel. Ajay created an interface for FWM which can collect visitor reflections and use these reflections to potentially expand the ability of technology and artificial intelligence to generate empathy and reflect and refract a collective response.