Hydrozoens

Jessica Field

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Hydrozoens, 2009

Image of hydrozoen robots walking on table top

Photo Credit: Paul Litherland


The two legged robot on the left is Bi Thermotaxis and on the right is Macropod Motivetaxis.
These robots are a species of Cnideria, meaning that they have a nerve-net central nervous system. These robots have no chance of evolving. They have sensors, intermediate circuitry and motor outputs. They have no brain, nor can they be reprogrammed.
There exists a facade where humans are creating a fantasy of what they think artificial intelligence should be rather than looking at the reality before them to see what artificial intelligence could be. The video, Ideological Ecologies, is about these Hydrozoans. It shows the facade of stereotypical roles I would like my robots' to adopt in their behaviours. These robots do not share the stereotypes that the video claims they have as I have no ability to control or change them.
The rules used to create these robots are as follows: 1) I will build the robots so they function individually; 2) The moment they work I will stop the adjusting them, as this is where the manipulations begin in order to create a robot that suits the creator's mental image. The video will be used to show how the robots are meant to behave and will provide a juxtaposition against their actual performance. Thus the unexpected results of my first attempt can be regarded as a robot behaving beyond human expectation. In seeing them as they are, one can begin to wonder if these robots are a form of artificial life.
The surface of their environment is covered with iron filings that shows the traces of their movements over the course of the installation. A six legged robot can draw lines so its activities can be traced. The other robots behaviours can only be interpreted by their foot prints.