Steffen Bunte, Kill Switch, April 25 through June 1, 2014, by appointment,

In 2011 Watson, an artificially intelligent computer was specifically developed by an IBM research team to participate on the quiz show Jeopardy!. Programed to answer clues faster than its human competitors and deliver these responses in a humanoid voice, Watson competed against two of the leading all-time money winners and succeeded in beating out its human opponents to win the first prize of $1 million.

Open Forum is pleased to present Steffen Bunte’s first solo exhibition in Berlin from April 26 till June 1, 2014. In this multidisciplinary work group entitled Kill Switch, Steffen presents our desire to create technology which is not only in our image, but which surpasses our own capabilities. We are excited by our capacity to create artificial intelligence, but at the same time we are awed by this hypothetical moment when it has progressed to the point of a greater-than- human intelligence, radically changing civilization.

According to the concept of technological singularity it might eventually be possible to build a machine that is more intelligent than not just one human, but humanity as a whole. In this future, machines are able to re-write their own source code to evolve towards even more intelligent entities. The examination of such future theories range between dystopia and utopia, but always implicate the fundamental question of what it actually means to be human.

From early civilizations to the present, we have moulded, carved and painted superhuman deities and gods in human form. In the human like voice of Watson and the humanoid physical form and communication capabilities of the robot ASIMO, also referenced in the exhibition, we see a contemporary attempt to give a human-form to superhuman artificial intelligence and technology. A more subtle but perhaps more profound humanization of artificial intelligence is our programing of these machines to create even more perfect versions of themselves, in their own image.