Pinar Yoldas: Year 2039, first non-human governor

Saturday 25 February 16:15

The Kitty AI, Artificial Intelligence for Governance Designer Babies by Pinar Yoldas. In: The Noise of Being, Sonic Acts exhibition 2017. Photo by Pieter Kers
by Olivia Grubenmann The Journal of xyz in the year 2039 12.03.2039 I am very happy today. Like on any other day. I love my life, and I love my governor. After a deep and restoring night of sleeping soundly, I feel completely restored. Like each other morning, I first glance at the smartphone implanted in my forearm. I smile widely, as I meet the calm and caring gaze of AI, my loving and beloved governor. “I love you”, she says in a smooth and purring voice. I press a kiss on the screen. “I love you too, my governor. I am so lucky to have you.” 13.03.2039 Today I did my recommended exercises. I should increase my workout session by 10 push-ups a day, to maintain my ideal weight of 60 kg. Governor AI has sent me the data of my weekly progress via smartphone and I am quite content with the results. My body temperature is ideal and the data on my skin is satisfying. My blood pressure is at the ideal of 120/80mmHg. My body fat percentage is 0,2% too high, but I will work on that. According to my nutrition plan I could even afford eating a small chocolate cookie today, which made me even happier. 14.03.2039 “Prepare the house for guests”, I gave order to the smartphone. The temperature in the apartment was being raised by two degrees and the air humidity lowered. My automatic shopping app placed a food order for three additional people. Today my family arrived for a weekend visit. I didn’t have time to pick them up at the airport, but, fortunately governor AI sent for a car to take care of it. Everything went smoothly. Everyone arrived safely. In her artwork The Kitty AI, Artificial Intelligence For Governance, artist Pinar Yoldas has created a fictional (or not so fictional?) scenario where an artificial intelligence knows our every move, takes care of all our needs, and is constantly working on perfecting our lives. Yoldas imagines a world where there is no hate, only love, where there is no vulnerability, only perfection. In Yoldas’s imagined world, an artificial intelligence in the form of a cute kitten governs the world. Through headphones visitors can listen to the robot-like but sweet voice of the first non-human governor, the Kitten Al. Meanwhile, the kitten explains to the audience what has happened in the years running up to 2039. Due to climate change and severe catastrophes, civilization has reorganized their way of life. Politicians have been replaced by an artificial intelligence who is immortal, infallible, and free from error. She is kind and loving. In fact, she can love up to 3 million people at a time. Interestingly, this future governor, despite knowing and controlling everything there is to know, is not intimidating. She makes sure of this by appearing to the people as a cute kitten, and who is intimidated by a kitten? Yoldas’s work begs the question: Would a world governed by an unbiased artificial intelligence be a better one? Would hate and imperfection be things of the past? Cute Kitten AI, or Trump for president? Considering today’s leaders, could a rational artificial intelligence with no personal interests make the world a more just and peaceful place? The exhibition draws these questions to the surface. Is a kitten overlord really so unthinkable?

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