In 1920, Karl Capek coined the term "robot" in a play about mechanical workers organizing a rebellion to defeat their human overlords. A century later, increasing popularism, inequality, and xenophobia require us to reconsider our assumptions about labor, trade, political stability, and community. At the same time, advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, fueled by corporations and venture capital, challenge our assumptions about the distinctions between humans and machines.
To explore potential linkages between these trends, the term "Robo-Exoticism" characterizes a range of human responses to AI and robots that exaggerate both their negative and positive attributes and reinforce fears, fantasies, and stereotypes.
Christiane Paul, Chief Curator / Director of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Professor at The New School and Adjunct Curator of Digital Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art, discusses her upcoming exhibition on art & AI and its relationship to robo-exoticism in this upcoming program, with a response from Curator-in-Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Claudia Schmuckli.
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