Smriti Keshari's “Altar” explores creativity and emotion of AI

'Altar' at the NAS Building in Washington prompts contemplation on AI's impact on society, it is on exhibit till September 2023.

Indian-American artist and film director Smriti Keshari's captivating installation, ‘Altar,’  is currently on display at  NAS (National Academy of Sciences) Building, East Gallery, Washington. Currently on exhibit till September 2023. "Altar" immerses viewers in a captivating and emotionally-charged exploration of the realm of artificial intelligence (AI).

The exhibition, organized by the Cultural Programs of the NAS in collaboration with The Science & Entertainment Exchange, aims to examine the power, creativity, and potential societal impact of AI. It delves into its impact on human existence, inviting visitors to reflect on the intricate connection between AI, society, and the environment, sparking dialogue and contemplation about the future of humanity in the AI era.

"Altar" presents a sculpture that enshrines the Python code AlphaGo, a significant milestone in AI development that some experts believe marks the moment when artificial intelligence surpassed human potential by displaying creativity. By immortalizing this groundbreaking code in a physical form, Keshari aims to ignite contemplation on the implications and consequences of AI's increasing influence on our lives.

The installation highlights the tension between humanity's desire for progress and the fear of AI's uncontrollable future. Keshari emphasizes the importance of understanding the power structures behind AI, including planetary resources, human labour, and data. By examining the social and environmental impacts, Keshari prompts viewers to rethink their views on the AI era.

Keshari has received support from prestigious organizations like the MacArthur Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, and Ford Foundation. She uses art as a tool for social change and has spoken at influential platforms such as the United Nations, BBC, and TED, where she was a TED Prize finalist and named Foreign Policy's Global Creative Thinker in 2016. Her latest work, "DISINTEGRATION," premiered at BAM and solidified her reputation as a visionary artist.

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