Artist Josie Williams Trained A.I. Chatbots on the Works of Black Authors. The Result? ‘Virtual Poetry’- Min Chen- δημοσίευση στο Artnet news [8/3/2023]
When artist and developer Josie Williams began looking into A.I. chatbots some two years ago, she was immediately taken with the technology, but also with the possibilities of what more she could do with it. These natural-language applications, after all, suffer from a clear set of limitations. They are told to make relational connections and stick to syntax in their outputs, and most damningly, have been trained on datasets that often lean European, leading to the technology’s notable racial bias.
“What would happen,” Williams wondered, “if I used the words of radical Black thought leaders in an A.I. dataset, so that was the only thing that a chatbot could use to formulate responses about itself or the world?”
Thus was born Ancestral Archives, Williams’s latest project encompassing four A.I. chatbots that will be unveiled at an installation at SXSW in Austin, Texas, on March 10.
Each of these chatbots has been built on a dataset exclusively containing the work of a Black author, inviting viewers, in effect, to interact with these subjects in an A.I.-mediated conversations. The four thinkers—James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Octavia E. Butler, and Zora Neale Hurston—are the “ancestors” referenced in the work’s title, who, Williams told Artnet News, “really allowed me to have a sense of identity, and feel seen and heard as a Black femme queer person.”
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