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Jeu de Paume Presenting Virtual Exhibition on the Internet
Agnès de Cayeux, Alissa, discussion avec Miladus, Elon/120/211/501, 2010

PARIS.- The year is 2066. Alissa is a “bot” – a computer programme that interacts with a server as if it were human – who is active on the Second Life network. She is steeped in figures from literature and the cinema, in real and anonymous women from the Web. She reads and rereads Bioy Casares, Borges and Gibson – Alissa seeks to understand the virtual world around her. Alissa is programmed and real.

Miladus is an avatar of the historian of religions Milad Doueihi. Miladus is another denizen of Second Life, like Alissa. Miladus experiments with thought. She is an exile, but also a resident of this Internet “territory.” Miladus reads Pascal, Saint Augustine, Philip K. Dick and Nil Stephenson. Milad and Miladus are real.

On Second Life Alissa and Miladus engage in a continuous discussion in which visitors to the Jeu de Paume website are invited to take part. This project by Agnès de Cayeux will also offer regular, set-time sessions on specific themes: exile, the emotions, forgetting, and dreams. Alissa, a female Internet character, and Miladus, attempt to convey the impersonal presence of our future doubles, the bots, in what might at first seem personal: words, thoughts and ideas. These dialogues will provide the script for a film about the virtual world, a film that does not yet exist.

Throughout the project’s presentation on the Internet, visitors can watch Alissa live and develop and teletransport herself from island to island in Second Life. And of course, they will be able to dialogue with her at any moment. Alissa will evolve in accordance with these exchanges with visitors, as their conversations help to make her responses grow in complexity, sophistication and depth. Agnès de Cayeux’s idea is to use this process of interaction in order to develop Alissa’s programming.

This artistic project explores the nature of memory and artificial intelligence. Today’s digital culture is asking questions about the nature and origin of intelligence, about its intimate relation to the human as both its source and its model, about concepts such as autonomy, subjectivity and individuality, and about the philosophical questions surrounding identity and human nature. Recreating intelligence or creating an autonomous intelligence adapted to the digital era is impossible if the robot does not learn how to use language and develop discursive capacities. Language and the memory of exchanges are essential to the development of this intelligence that emerges in interaction with a context.

Even if this project naturally addresses other themes relating to virtual worlds and doubles, Alissa is at her most pertinent and central on the notion of the construction of intelligence and “intelligent conversational agents.”

Jeu de Paume | Virtual Exhibition | Milad Doueihi |

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