OutOf the lOOp is an interactive art-concept focusing and circling around the ways humans build relationships with robots. It was developed in the years 2021-22 as one of the many concepts developed by the members of the “Singularity42”, a group of artists developing artworks combining AI, robotics in cooperation with the AI&Robo Lab of the University of Luxembourg. The group was formed during the cooperation of the University with ESCH22, one of the three Cultural Capitals in 2022.
In its final stage OutOf the lOOp was an intense collaboration between the computer scientists Sana Nouzri and Price Yaw Gharbin from the AI&Robo Lab and the artist TeeKay Kreissig. Due to many challenging and difficulties during its realization OutOf the lOOp proved to be highly interesting research approach combining many challenges.
It was presented during the second edition of the AIFA conference (Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Art) in November 2022. AIFA had also included “DEUS-X-MACHINA”, a concept by TeeKay playing with the idea of AIs as higher, smarter and possible divine entities.
Though we are sorry to say the concept could only be realized in parts the journey along the way has been very enlightening for all its contributors and the audiences.
To move it from the conceptual level to a full fledged and fool proof experience further and different resources will be needed. Therefor we are very happy to cooperate with researchers and faculties all around the world.
When your robot friends give you the middle finger
OutOf the lOOp made use of two Pepper robots the University had bought WHEN for general research purposes. During the project the nameless robots were called „Yens“ & „Stéphanie“ to give them a clearer identity and personlity. Both should guide human visitors through the art exhibition at the CCH (Computational Creativity Hub) where about 15 different works combining AI and Robotics with artistic approaches were exhibited.
This way both helpful robots are helpful are perceived as friendly entities by the visitors.
But at a certain point the robots will ignore the humans and focus on themselves.
They suddenly communicate in “machine sounds” and maybe also insult the humans based on the information they have gathered during the small talk and finally leave the insulted humans alone in the exhibition. The humans are literally „Out of the Loop“.
Psychological and technical challenges
Since this situation comes as a surprise to the unsuspecting visitors the frustrating experienced must be moderated immediately afterwards. The neglected and insulted visitors are invited by the researchers to reflect on their feelings of frustration and disappointment.
Therefor this whole project poses interesting challenges on both technical and psychological levels. The following paragraphs will explain the single steps and the hurdles we have experienced.
The technical research fields involved include
- human-in-the-loop methods and systems
- spatial orientation of robots
- speech recognition
- natural language processing
- natural language understanding
- robotic interaction
Phase 1: Connecting with a new friend
The visitor is approached by „Yens“ and is drawn into a friendly conversation. Yens provides small talk, asks the visitor about their name, hometown, age, hobbies and interests.
- Speech recognition
- wide range of conversational topics
Phase 2: In the loop – from couple to threesome
After roughly 3 to 7 minutes – depending on the quality of the conversation of some visitors with Yens – Stéphanie will also approach Yens and the visitor, introducing herself very politely and enter the conversation about the artwork.
The visitor will experience a second friendly and safe connection with Stéphanie.
- orientation in space – text must be related to the artwork they stand in front of
- interruptions by visitor must be handled
- information must be prepared on 3 levels, enabling more in-depth for the interested expert visitor as well as superficial info for beginners
Phase 3: Change of language – disappointment
After about two minutes of friendly conversation the two robots will suddenly change their language mode into a series of mere beeping R2D2 sounds, thus putting the visitor “out of the loop”. This may happen gradually or abruptly and the different speeds of the alienation process could be an interesting research field.
Phase 4: Making amends – unveiling the concept
This is the most complicated phase of the artwork. At present the amends for the insult are delivered by the scientist, who are always present in the room.
In a more developed version Yens should have to roll back to the visitor and explain what has just happened.
Phase 5: Feedback for the sake of research
Since different visitors will react differently, one of the desired continuations of the project would be to ask all visitors who experienced OutOf the lOOp to fill out a short questionnaire about their experience. This way the project offers a wide range of further research questions to computer scientists as well as psychologists.
Robotic & AI driven guides for all purposes have been a wide field of research and experiments. A first robot tour guide has been deployed as part of an EU project in 2022 in Turin after three years of development. This project has received a lot of attention also outside of the research field.
Robot tour guide in Turin
Othe projects include robotic guides in The new National Gallery or Lindsey in the Lincoln Collection.
If you are interested in a collaboration or discussion concerning the AI and drone projects please contact us at email@example.com.
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