The Kitty AI

Pinar Yoldas

04 October – 08 December 2018

The year is 2039. War (the P-Crisis EMEA war) has ravaged West Eurasia. The emotional impact on its citizen’s collective consciousness cannot be overstated. In the aftermath, an Artificial Intelligence with the affective capacities of a kitten becomes the first non-human governor. She rules over megalopolis. Leading a politician-free life with a network of other Artificial Intelligences, Kitty lives in the mobile devices of citizens and can love up to 3 million people.

This exhibition considers AI and humanity’s relationship to this emerging technology. With The Kitty AI, Pinar Yoldas challenges the end-of-the-world narratives that have driven debates and societal concerns surrounding the technology. Instead, she poses the question, ‘Would advances in AI technology necessarily bring about the domination and destruction of humans, or does it have the potential to enhance human lives, meshing seamlessly into human social, emotional and political life?’

Drawing heavily on iconography from the European Union, and featuring many of Europe’s leading political figures past and present (Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, David Cameron), The Kitty AI offers viewers a reminder of the affective ties that can bind people and nations. In the wake of unstable political & environmental landscapes that await future generations, Kitty’s “political” message – if it can be called this – is spread not through polished rhetoric – Kitty’s childlike tone and candid manner lack the traditional markers of authority – but through a seemingly genuine love for her citizens: a message transmitted through their digital devices. Directly addressing the viewer, Kitty claims that ‘Love means care. I care about you’.

Like much of Pinar’s past work, such as Ecosystems of Excess & Distilling the Sky, The Kitty AI explores the reckless and destructive nature of human beings. Kitty’s first-person account of the P-Crisis EMEA War and its aftermath is harrowing and all too familiar. The war is used to justify the emergence of AI governance, where, as Kitty argues, salvation lies not in the hands of humanity, but in non-human intervention.

Informed as it is by the cyberpunk genre, where technology is advanced and lifeforms are low, it is left entirely up to the viewer to decide whether Kitty does indeed represent a merely benevolent force.