Take care of me

Take care of me, python script, 9’12”, 2019

Take care of me (a fictional text written by a machine learning algorithm and a soldier) is a narrative text transformed into video through a python script. The text intertwines the “formation” of two characters: the first is a neural network (one of the most powerful machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms) and the second is a soldier (artist’s uncle), enrolled under the fascist regime first in the colonial war in Ethiopia and then WWII, Eastern Front, which will commit suicide on return. By intertwining the two stories, parallels are installed between the creation of two consciousnesses, describing their internal states, objectives and training processes.

Neural networks are the most used machine learning algorithms at the basis of what is called artificial intelligence: the process of “building” the network takes place by learning, through the connection structure between nodes, imitating neural connections in the human brain. This construction is the result of how the model is conceived, of the constraints imposed and of the data used for training: they often are strong biased toward the dominant point of view of a male, white, heterosexual, English-speaking, colonizer.
My uncle was a soldier under the fascist regime: the colonial war against Ethiopia, where the Italians were guilty of crimes against humanity through the use of chemical weapons, justified in light of strong racism, was his training.
Intertwining the two stories is a way of enlighten the relationships between the individual self and the social, political, linguistic and technological structures that determine their constraints and horizons of meaning.

Here the whole text.

Thanks to Eleonora Farina and Luca Sguanci.

Michael A. Nielsen, Neural Networks and Deep Learning, Determination Press, 2015
Stanford University Course CS231n: Convolutional Neural Networks for Visual Recognition, Lectures and Notes, Spring 2018, http://cs231n.stanford.edu/index.html
Matteo Pasquinelli, Abnormal Encephalization in the Age of Machine Learning, e-flux, n. 75, September 2016
Matteo Pasquinelli. Machines that Morph Logic: Neural Networks and the Distorted Automation of Intelligence as Statistical Inference. Glass Bead, 1: “Logic Gate: The Politics of the Artifactual Mind”, 2017. Web: www.glass-bead.org/article/960
Ennio Flaiano, Tempo di Uccidere (Time of Kill), Italian Edition, BUR 2000
Nicola Labanca, Constructing Mussolini’s New Man in Africa? Italian Memories of the Fascist War on Ethiopia, (Italian edition), Il Mulino, 2005
Antonio Orlandi Contucci, Passato d’africa, (Italian only), Rubettino 2011
Alan Turing, Lecture to the London Mathematical Society on 20 February 1947, online at https://www.vordenker.de/downloads/turing-vorlesung.pdf
Gilbert Simondon, On the mode of existence of Technical object, University of Minnesota Press, 2017