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Barbican x AI: More than Human
LAUREN, Lauren McCarthycourtesy of the artist

An immersive, interactive art show about AI is coming to the Barbican

AI: More than Human is exploring the evolution of the relationship between humans and technology, and AI’s creative leaps

Artificial intelligence may feel like such an expansive, slightly terrifying concept that’s impossible to fully fathom, but in the coming years, it’s going to be part of our everyday more and more. We previously explored how it’s going to impact everything from music-making to fashion design, skincare and our ethics. Now, an exhibition exploring the huge creative and scientific leaps of artificial intelligence is coming to the London’s Barbican centre, titled AI: More Than Human.

As part of Life Rewired, the Barbican’s 2019 season, the exhibition will zone in on the evolving relationship between humans and technology, and ask what it really means to be human when the technological world advances all around us. Though you may think the world of AI only found life in the last century or so, the exhibition takes us back to its ancient roots in Japanese Shintoism and early religion, to the work of revered scientist Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage’s early computer experiments, right up until AI powered through in the 1940s until now. The dream of AI has crossed centuries, igniting minds and movements in art, pop culture, and science.

AI: More Than Human is divided into four sections – The Dream of AI, which charts early ideals that shaped the future of AI, and features a Kode9 sound installation on the mythical golem creature that’s popped up in art and film from Frankenstein to Blade Runner. Then there’s Mind Machines, a section that will explain how AI has developed through history – from the first development of coding to the first neural network in the 1940s, charting AI history figures and moments like Lovelace and Alan Turing, the AI that beat a pro chess player and one that beat a human on Jeopardy.

The third section, Data Worlds, examines the capability of AI to change society, as well as the important ethical issues of AI like bias, truth, control, and privacy. It features an interactive work by Nexus Studios and artist Memo Akten, where visitors can manipulate everyday objects to illustrate how a neural network can be fooled. The final section, Endless Evolution, looks to the future of the human race, and where artificial life fits in – it features work by Massive Attack to mark the 20th anniversary of their monumental album Mezzanine. 

An exhibition catalogue will also feature essays from the likes of Margaret Atwood and the late cultural theorist Mark Fisher, considering the philosophical, scientific and artistic approaches to artificial intelligence. 

The exhibition also utilises cutting-edge research projects from DeepMind to Google Arts and Culture, Sony Computer Science Laboratories and MIT. Artists including Memo Akten, Joy Buolamwini, Es Devlin, feature and produce work across the show. 

AI: More than Human will run from May 16 – August 26 2019 at the Barbican