BATTLE GROUND: What happens when nature takes control of computing?

This art-science investigation will feature a giant environmentally controlled interactive robot arm that is controlled by machine learnine (an artificial intelligence or AI). The robot’s central task will be to learn how to best support its surrounding natural environment.

The robot arm will initially be situated in an urban forest (beside a billabong in native parkland). This would create an intentional visual contrast between a piece of large-scale automated machinery and a natural ecosystem.

These environment-computer integration art experiments will be delivered as a video artwork. This experiment opens discussions around interactivity. This work imagines a futurist reality where sentient environmental ecosystems take control of machine learning. Humans expect that interactive installations will involve humans having some control over a designed environment. BATTLE GROUND places our natural environment and computers in the position of interactive control. BATTLE GROUND highlights the vulnerable position that humans are in when faced with powerful natural forces and machine learning.

BATTLE GROUND asks audiences to questions the level of control that people really have over natural and computational environments. This provocation leads to inquiries around the sentient values of nature and computing; and a potential future where people are valued as insignificant by both nature and computing.

Sawyer Robot Arm driven by nature: image compiled by Betty Sargeant

Thanks to the support from the Exertion Games Lab at Monash University.