Living Things : CES report in Paris
(A large report can also be found on Ezratty.)
The Consumer Electronic Show is far from being an Art event. But it lets feel the trends of technology in our everyday's life. At least the trend as hyped by the industry, with some disappointments in the years to follow (for instance the 3D cinema). But Art has to take its part in the buzz and the creation, be it to foster innovative creation or to throw alert on the dangers.
Extremetech : "The connected car is much more than a smartphone on wheels."
Let's sum up some main trends of this year and their possible impacts on Art, drawing on the experience of major French artists. (But you will surely reach different conclusions if you attend the Living Things presentation !).
Artificial intelligence. One on the main buzzwords. Not the "logical" AI of the 1980's but the "neuronal" (with deep learning) version. Until now it's a quite heavy and technically difficult way of doing art. In France, Michel Bret was a pioneer in the field, and his experience could be strongly appreciated in the days to come.
Personnalization is a practical application of deep learning is that objects can know you better and better and so take into account your personality and anticipate on your wishes. Could be nightmarish as well exhilarating as a major scale up in human identity.
Robots (humanoid) were largely present in Las Vegas. It's a classical topic for Art (see our Robotics notice) . Some robots are now cheap enough for artistic projects. But not without possible disappointmens. Here, The Little Redhood of Florent Aziosmanoff was a pioneer work, deemed to extinction since Sony did drop his Aibo dogs. But he is still developing his concept of Living Art, which goes along well with the "living things" concept. On this topic, see also the recent conference of Zaven Paré about actor robots.
Wireless VR by DisplayLink
Autonomous cars. At present more an opportunity for designers than for artists properly. And, in the future, the leisure time and space structure offered by the suppression of the driving constraints offers opportunities to new form of art. Very probably, for instance, augmented reality to paint rosy colors, blue skys and green spaces upon the highway monotonous environment ?
Connected objects. Not necessarily expensive, could foster really new artistic creation.
Virtual and augmented reality. One of the most fascinating technique for new art. Goggles remain comparatively expensive and difficult to operate. Tablets lend themselves more easily to augmented reality developments. One of the most advanced artist and theoris on this field is Judith Guez.
Voice control with Amzaon Eco and Alexa
Voice control gets up to replace the keyboard, even the tiny and pervasive keyboard of the smartphone. As for AI, the concept is far from new, but machine power seems now sufficient to avoid the traditional pitfall in this field : faulty understanding and then inappropriate answer or a necessity to repeat several times. Until now, no artist has explored these possibilities of interaction. But anyway, as we hav yet written, the strong Ego of artists does not take them to interaction, be it with joysticks, Kinect or voice sensors. With the exception of games, if you accpet them as a form of art.
3D printing. In spite of the hype in precedent years, it's actually more adapted to professional uses than to DIY creation. Several artists have explored the field with limited success as far as we know, in spite of imagination and mathematical sophistication (for instance Christian Lavigne).
Some (first) general considerations
Las Vegas, image from Las Vegas Condi High Rise
Really New ? Conceptually, all that does not break so new ground: connected objects, vocal control, AI and VR have been on air for at least 30 years, if not 50. And with a lot of disappointment. The actual novelty comes from the machine power applied with comparatively brute force.
Really a Plus for mankind ? Between technofans and technophobes, the gap is cleaving. Between hype and criticism, there are few unprejudices studies on the consequences of all that. Driverless cars, by themselves, will have dramatic consequences on employment and lifestyle. And the Las Vegas addictive environment, dominated by the Trump Tower, does'nt play for a rational assessment of the consequences. But pessimism will not help, anyway. Why not, for instance, take part at Cité des Sciences in the Changer d'Ere forum ?
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