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Conversations With Bina48 – Stephanie Dinkins

Did you ever think you’d grow up to talk to a robot that looked like you? David Colosi discusses with artist Stephanie Dinkins her conversations with AI entity Bina48 (created by Martine Rothblatt’s Terasem Movement, Inc.). Is building a robot into a human-like sculptural bust a gimmick to seduce humans to engage with it, or do anthropomorphic features allow for essential discussions about dignity and care? With what respect do we need to treat objects, and how does this change when computers have a face, a race and a gender? When we want to become friends with robots, do they want to become friends with us? With the integration of Artificial and Human intelligence approaching, Dinkins explores the language we build into our machine learning systems: when programmers assign words like “master” to the relationship of AI to humans and later Bina48 implores Dinkins to protect her robot rights, on what ground do we stand? Who do we trust at the controls? When machines are programmed to learn at exponentially increasing speed, and we humans have difficulty learning from our mistakes, an inferiority complex seems imminent. Are we poised to approach it with humility or reproach it with brutality? The issue is not robot revenge, as our sci-fi plots like to exploit, but, as Colosi and Dinkins explore, rather an examination of dignity as we position ourselves in relation to other humans and, ultimately, objects. Stephanie Dinkins is an artist and professor at Stony Brook University interested in creating platforms for ongoing dialog about artificial intelligence as it intersects race, gender, aging and our future histories. She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to develop deep-rooted AI literacy and co-create more culturally inclusive equitable artificial intelligence.


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