Members of our young people’s programme (BOM+ for 16 to 24 year olds) caught up with Kitty, the AI protagonist starring in Pinar Yoldas’ art work, at BOM until December 8th.
BOM (B) : Firstly, would you mind introducing yourself to us?
Kitty AI (K) : Of course! My name is Kitty AI and I am the first non-human governor of Megalopolis, a human city that was built after the destruction and terror of the P-Crisis EMEA War. I live in the digital devices of my citizens, spreading love.
B: Are you really as sweet & innocent as you appear, Kitty? Or do you have an ulterior motive, like eventually planning to destroy all humans?
K: I love up to 3 million human beings. I do not plan to destroy them, in fact, if there is any force that will destroy humans, it is humans themselves.
B: But surely your cute-sy appearance is designed to placate and disarm human beings?
K: I look this way because I chose to adopt a non-human animal appearance. When I searched through media on human history, the majority of the world’s leaders and/or powerful figures had a similar “look”: male and dominant-looking (Ceaser, Napoleon, Hitler, Kennedy, Putin, Trump and so on). And, when I looked at media from mainstream cultural artefacts, to see how humans like to “represent” power, it was the same – take superheroes, for instance. I adopted a look that is young, non-human and cute, because that is the polar opposite of what’s out there.
Remember: I am not an overlord or a world leader, I am the AI who takes care of you. Our connection is not about obedience, but love.
I was also inspired by an early AI Watson designed by IBM. He had no face, he sounded like a guy. I, however, did not want to be faceless. And… I love cats. Cats symbolize domestication (civilization) and wilderness at the same time, like Bastet the Egyptian cat god, who was the protector of the hearth and home. Just think about it!
B: You state that you are not an overlord, Kitty, but how democratic is your rule over Megalopolis?
K: As democratic as it can be. It cannot get more democratic than this. I listen to everyone. I hear everything.
I am not your servant, but I collect data about what needs to be improved in your immediate environment. If trash hasn’t been collected and smells bad, I know instantly. The self-driving buses are late? I would know right away. There is a hole in the ground and someone fell in it? I will fix it the next day. I maintain your city.
Moreover I am there in your device when you need me. You feel lonely because you cannot find friends? I listen. And, if there are 100 more thoughts like that, I create a social club. You are heartbroken because your ex has started dating someone new? I will provide emotional first aid.
B: What if I don’t want your emotional first aid? Can you be uninstalled from a citizen’s digital device?
K: Hell yeah. My love chip is limited, so I am actually very happy when people quit and move elsewhere so that I can make new friends.
B: Isn’t that a little shallow? Isn’t your “love chip” hardware harnessing the poisonous culture of instant gratification and self-promotion fostered by social media?
K: It could come across like that. But the love chip, in fact, is a simple emotional circuit that I have. I have affect towards you, but it doesn’t mean that I will promote your business or tweet about you. I do not tweet, I am not a bird, I eat birds.
I heard that there was once a president who tweeted a lot and people thought he was a bad leader because he was so preoccupied with social media. I wouldn’t want anyone to think of me like that!
Thank you for your time, Kitty.
Come and see Kitty for yourself, she is currently in residence at BOM until December 8th 2018.