Sunday, 12 August 2012

Feedback from Questionnaire

I previously asked a selection of people if they would like to take part in my MA research questionnaire. I described the installation and asked people to imagine that they were inside a hypothetical AI Life Form, while watching a video. Click here for link to post  Then I asked if they could fill in this likert style questionnaire

Quantitative and Qualitative Research:

Personally I dislike likert style questionnaires so I was really hoping that people would make comments too, though I didn't tell them this. I wanted to explore these ideas and see how many people felt the need to make comments as there were so many 'ifs and buts' in this questionnaire. This was quite risky because if people hadn't make any comments I would not have gained any qualitative research,  but my curiosity took the better of me.

It has been so interesting to gather information via both the questionnaire and also to hear people's views and their interpretation of the questions from the comments that I have received.

I would like to thank everyone that took part in this, it has been very interesting to quantify this information and to read the comments, especially since I didn't ask anyone to make comments :-)

Below are the results from 26 people that have taken part in the questionnaire:


What initially sprung out at me from these results were how people considered themselves to be a individual and a concious being, to how people compared an AI to an individual and conscious being. Below are some Pie charts showing the statistics for these comparisons:

You are an individual?

An AI is an individual?

You are a conscious being?

An AI is a conscious being?

Comments from Questionnaire

Jay Cannings:

Last 3 Q's difficult to go one way or another. An AI may be an individual, but also may not be. As it is artificial it could be copied and so there could be many AI's with starting parameters that are the same. It would depend on whether it has the ability to self-adjust itself over time as it experiences things. Some AI's may be conscious does not mean that all AI's are conscious.

Sean Duffield:  Paper Tiger Comix

I really like your idea for the AI 'traveller' which has chosen its own shape as the air tent. It's fun. The video was great too. I liked the sound of the breathing with the footage.

I've filled out the questionnaire, but I thought I might explain my answers a little.
I'd say we're all individuals,  a collection of natural generative elements AND mechanisms. We're a mixture of the individual and a collective network of life on the planet I reckon. But we have a choice whether to believe this or not. I don't necessarily think that being all 3 is contradictory, I think we have different layers and functions of our physical, mental and spiritual/conscious selves.

Our physical makeup is a biological/organic machine, but we have consciousness, awareness, sentience etc etc. So that we are not just mechanical, although even thought can become mechanical via programming/ conditioning etc, but I think thoughts and feelings are generally more spontaneous than just to be purely mechanical.

My answers about the AI aren't simply 'disagree or agree' answers really. I think the potential and abilities and perceptions of AI can differ greatly. In terms of programmed basic non-sentient AI; these to my mind are mechanisms that are programmed and controlled by an outside force (ie man), and do not have the ability to be self aware, to feel or understand other organisms different to them. Like a chess machine, a sophisticated computer etc; there is AI and logic there, but not independent thought and the ability to go out into the world and experience new things that cause changeable ideas, thoughts, feelings, evolution, survival, growth etc. Whilst every separate thing that is created is individual in its physical self, true individuality derives from the ability to be unique and question, and a basic programmed AI doesn't really have this ability.

But a very complex AI; say that was based on a sentient animal, or perhaps an android, a cyborg or some genetically engineered being, could potentially truly be an individual in terms of being able to think, learn and act/react, survive etc relatively independently and being able to go beyond it's creator's influence and learn/evolve for itself. It could possibly be able to think and feel it's way beyond it's programming, and mutate/ evolve....

The AI could also potentially be able to reproduce if it was made up of organic material either with a partner or asexually, or an abstract way, it could reproduce digitally if it was a computer/ digital lifeform if one day this was possible....I don't see a clone as an AI though, because it's not artificial in itself, rather the conditions it was created in were not 'natural' in terms of how a species would reproduce and be grown inside the womb. So I wouldn't class a clone as an AI, because to my mind it's still a sentient individual. But a cyborg or android or some kind of sophisticated computer or organic creature not yet realised,  which had the spark of consciousness in it's brain might be an AI; something that was constructed/created by another but which is able to react and think for itself and learn (and so becoming an individual; not just purely a construct or machine).

I like the idea of a benevolent AI which could travel and learn and be influenced by nature. As long as it didn't see us as threat and wipe us out! (although some of us might have it coming) :)

I hope that waffle helps and is useful to you in some way, even if it's just to see how my mind reacts to the ideas at this moment in time!...I hope it makes sense too!

Ian Godley:

What fascinating questions!  Scientific advances are exciting even though I feel more and more like a Victorian these days with all this micro-technology at our disposal. I'm sure we're going to see AI's playing an increasing role in our lives.

I liked your marquet and the materials you are using. Your ideas are very well thought out. I thought your video posed the questions in a quietly persuasive way. The breathing sound and imagery combined to help me unclutter my mind and focus on the questions too. The pace of the video was perfect. I loved the sparks and daisies in particular and the waves worked well in tandem with the breathing. Overall I thought it had a primeval feel which underlined the gravity of the issues you are asking us to consider. For instance, one reason why I like living by the sea is because it's where we originally came from and I find that quite grounding. The way the breathing became more insistent when the "Are you a mechanism?" caption came up was quite disquieting and very effective.

This is an excellent piece of work Kay. It had a powerful effect on me. Thank you.

Phil Elston:

Great work, Kay. Only us living creatures - including non-human animals, are conscious beings. Well, that's what I think.

Alan Crough:

Not sure I understood all the questions, but I've had a go anyway. Liked the video clip and the step by step clear instructions.

Philip Galanter:

I think I see where this is going, but there are semantic ambiguity problems here.

In 3 the term "mechanism" is overloaded.  To many it will mean a machine that is manufactured by the hand of man, to others it will mean something that is in accord with a mechanical universe.

7 seems to be an obvious but purely definitional question.  Anything "artificial" is not "natural." The only problematic case would be something like Frankenstein where natural parts are artificially stitched together. But that's not usually what people think of as an AI.

8 also has a similar overload problem.  Individual might just mean a counting unit, i.e. if in a package there is only one X then it is an individual X. Or it might mean individual in the sense of their being unique and different from the others.  i.e. there are many X's but each is different and thus each is an individual.

In 9 it depends on the AI I suppose. I can imagine inventing something that could be called an AI but is not conscious.  I can also imagine one that is. But so far neither has been achieved.

Ben Barnard:

Trippy video with the breathing and imagining it in this AI dome.

Mel Candy:

There are parts of a person which react like a mechanism in that with the same conditions and external factors you are likely to get the same changes and results, but this does not make you a mechanism.

 Suwan Rogers:

I'm not sure about the answers!, well for some, need to read up more on ' natural generative' with regards to AI, I'm not sure of the boundaries of the definition of 'natural generative', I'm pretty sure that AI wouldn't come in to it; but I saw 'Demon Seed' years ago & Proteus 'mates' with a woman & has a child at the end. So gonna think a bit more on my answers.

Right, I've done the questionnaire!, I put neither agree nor disagree, because I think their conciousness & functioning depends on their 'spec' or the capabilities of the AI when designed & created, I think.

I shall be thinking about these things like conciousness & what it means to be 'alive'. I think about these things in  relation to The Romantics & Mary Shelleys Frankenstein, which had such an impact on me. There is the quote ' I think , therefore, I am' by Descartes. I remember being shown a picture of a mechanical doll or automaton in a museum ( perhaps France) with those words on a small placard in front of her.

Sarah Howes:

Fascinating, beautiful and thought provoking stuff. I would love to come and experience this when it is done if the opportunity arises. Looks really great.

Duncan Wardlaw:

Really interesting work Kay. I hope I can make it to your show so I can experience The Traveller!

Maggie Claring:

The prototype look amazing.  Have filled in questionnaire and was quite in a dilemma as one of my favourite films is Blade Runner and another that I found really quite unbearably sad was Artificial Intellegence but my answers do not reflect that!  Yes -  whats all that about!

Rene Kelleway:

The AI might well be Conscious of its surroundings, whether its conscious of its own being and thereby existence, is a different matter...

Dean Hale:

Liked the video Kay,  very clever....the breathing!

Richard Walker:

Regarding the questionnaire, I would have had a lot of qualifications to the answers to these questions such as 'that would depend on…' 'it could be… ' etc. So I did my best. Some of this depends on what you mean by terms such as 'mechanism', since this could be used to describe either 'mechanical' systems or 'organic' ones. Anyway, hope its a help.

Jennie Arran:

Totally Impressed Kay, I'd love to come to your show.

Thanks again

It has been really fascinating seeing both the results and comments, but I did find the results from the Pie charts to be quite surprising mainly due to the neither agree or disagree comments. I was really pleased to receive comments on this to understand how people were thinking. I will be reflecting and breaking down the statistics in a later post.

I've really enjoyed doing this and I've learnt so much by gathering this research, I would just like to say thanks again to everybody that took part  :-)

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