'In Medio Stat Virtus', 2018
We want to teach machines how we and our environment work. Tons of real-time data in machine-readable form are pushed into systems to classify and predict the real world. The kinetic installation 'In Medio Stat Virtus' shows a system that learns to find the balance.
The efforts of the machine to find the balance make success and failure of the system physically tangible. It has to deal with data from the real world and its physical environment. The system attempts to balance a swaying metallic sphere. Motors move the construction on two strings up and down continuously. The machine knows nothing about its task. It learns by experimenting. The system receives positive and negative experience by being rewarded accordingly. So it tries to approach a balanced state.
Machine learning soon permeates almost all areas of life. Keeping things in balance has always been considered by most philosophers to be the best way to master life. The installation translates the natural concept of keeping balance to artificial intelligence. In a world where machines make decisions and we are numbers in large datasets, it can be important to translate our ethical concepts into intelligent machines.