Text by CLOT Magazine
Founded in 1895 in San Francisco, the de Young Museum has been an integral part of the city’s cultural fabric for over 100 years. Until March 28, 2021, the de Young Museum presents Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI, the first major museum exhibition in the United States to unite the work of Ian Cheng, Simon Denny, Forensic Architecture, Pierre Huyghe, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Lawrence Lek, Trevor Paglen, or Hito Steyerl.
Organised by Claudia Schmuckli, Curator in Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the exhibition aims to build on the metaphors embedded within the technology—ranging from heuristic models of collective intelligence to forms of excavation and statistical alter egos—. Taking the uncanny valley as a starting point, Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI examines the current applications of AI as a challenge to traditional understandings of the human–machine relationship and how AI’s mechanisms are reshaping the human–machine integration.
“Uncanny valley” is a metaphor introduced by Japanese robotics engineer Masahiro Mori in 1970 to chart a human’s comfort-discomfort spectrum with a robot based on its degree of resemblance. But at the dawn of the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’, the uncanny valley is defined by addictive mechanisms that draw people to the screens like fireflies.
Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI proposes new ways of thinking about intelligence, nature, and artifice.