Feb 20–Jun 26, 2022

The Future Through Artificial Eyes

20 Years of VPRO Tegenlicht
Musempark 25, Rotterdam 3015 CB Map
Tue–Sat 10 am–5 pm, Sun 11 am–5 pm

Visions of the future change with technological and social developments. In this installation by researcher and designer Richard Vijgen, visitors can explore future visions from the past 20 years with the help of artificial intelligence. By playing with the ‘eyes’ with which the computer views the archive of the future-themed TV programme VPRO Tegenlicht, you experience how it processes information. What patterns does it ‘see’ in 555 VPRO Tegenlicht broadcasts?

Technological and social developments constantly influence the way we look at a topic such as artificial intelligence (AI). The myth of the independently thinking machine has been around since the 1800s, both as a harbinger of an ideal world in which people no longer need to work, and as part of a doomsday scenario in which society loses control of the robots. AI is the ability of a computer to process information and make decisions. Traditionally, it would do so based on instructions and rules set by programmers: if this, then that. Over the last 20 years, however, this has started to change. Instead of explicitly telling a computer what to do, so-called neural networks, a type of algorithm modelled on the human brain, are given a task without clear instructions on how to solve it. By letting the system try different strategies again and again, it can improve itself until it reaches a high rate of succes. While the concept of a self-learning algorithm has been around for decades, the exponential growth in processing power and the increasing availability of large amounts of data over the past 20 years have transformed it from an academic concept to an everyday reality.