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In Frontiers in robotics and AI

Children begin to develop self-awareness when they associate images and abilities with themselves. Such "construction of self" continues throughout adult life as we constantly cycle through different forms of self-awareness, seeking, to redefine ourselves. Modern technologies like screens and artificial intelligence threaten to alter our development of self-awareness, because children and adults are exposed to machines, tele-presences, and displays that increasingly become part of human identity. We use avatars, invent digital lives, and augment ourselves with digital imprints that depart from reality, making the development of self-identification adjust to digital technologies that blur the boundary between us and our devices. To empower children and adults to see themselves and artificially intelligent machines as separately aware entities, we created the persona of a salvaged supermarket security camera refurbished and enhanced with the power of computer vision to detect human faces, and project them on a large-scale 3D face sculpture. The surveillance camera system moves its head to point to human faces at times, but at other times, humans have to get its attention by moving to its vicinity, creating a dynamic where audiences attempt to see their own faces on the sculpture by gazing into the machine's eye. We found that audiences began attaining an understanding of machines that interpret our faces as separate from our identities, with their own agendas and agencies that show by the way they serendipitously interact with us. The machine-projected images of us are their own interpretation rather than our own, distancing us from our digital analogs. In the accompanying workshop, participants learn about how computer vision works by putting on disguises in order to escape from an algorithm detecting them as the same person by analyzing their faces. Participants learn that their own agency affects how machines interpret them, gaining an appreciation for the way their own identities and machines' awareness of them can be separate entities that can be manipulated for play. Together the installation and workshop empower children and adults to think beyond identification with digital technology to recognize the machine's own interpretive abilities that lie separate from human being's own self-awareness.

Lc Ray, Alcibar Aaliyah, Baez Alejandro, Torossian Stefanie


child psychology, computer vision, human machine communication technology, human robot interaction, projection mapping, robotic art, self-identify