Presentation of the residency Mark II Spiking Perceptron by the artist Matthew Biederman

- Can you introduce yourself? 

My name is Matthew Biederman. I’m an artist.

- Can you present your project Mark II Spiking Perceptron?

The project I’ll be working on will explore the ChipAI technology being developed at the INL. I find it particularly interesting as a technology since it is using an approach to the underlying hardware of AI research from a neuromorphic approach – just as Frank Rosenblatt did when he invented the Mark I Perceptron.  He was fascinated by the inner workings of the housefly’s eye, and set out to build a version of it.  Whereas with the ChipAI, as far as I understand prior to the residency, the researchers are building an optical spiking chip, which is akin to the way synapses fire in our brains. In the end, Rosenblatt’s Perceptron could recognize a circle, triangle or square, and the latest research with the ChipAI has it recognizing a few letters. The difference is of course, the ChipAI project is only just beginning. So for me, it’s an interesting moment in the trajectory of AI, where we had a scientist that looked at the natural world and tried to replicate it with analog circuitry and we are still looking to the natural world for the most efficient means of calculations.

- What do you expect from this residency? 

Well, I don’t expect anything. I will spend some time with the group at the INL, and try to understand to a degree what it is they are doing and reflect on the current state of affairs, and consider how these technologies will affect society. I think art is one way to talk about our contemporary situation in a way that can be both revealing as well as critical without feeling didactic – sort of another way into a subject that can be surprising, not only for the audience but for myself as well.  I will see what comes, so for now, I am just reading and thinking a lot and I’ll wait to see where it goes.