Technology and the art of human experience
[Krzysztof]: Good morning and welcome to Memex Conference Poland in Gdańsk, the first one. [Anastasia]: No matter if You are joining us here today in person in Gdańsk or online, via livestream, at Your favorite media device of choice - we’re really happy to have all of You here with us. After several Memex conferences in Berlin, and even a Memex conference in Chicago, eye square decided to team up with DAC.digital, to make a Memex conference in Gdańsk. [K.]: And so, the two of us - Anastasia, Associate Director of Digital Marketing in eye square, Berlin...
[A.]: And Krzysztof, CTO at DAC.digital and technological mastermind, we will guide You through this wonderful conference today. But how did eye square and DAC.digital decide to team up on this one? [K.]: Great question! It all started in 2021, when Filip and Matthias from eye square approached us and asked a question on delivering their product. Fast forward 18 months and we are still in this, and even more so, we’re building a great impact back together, but You have to stick around until the end of the conference to find out more.
[A.]: Well, we live in a world where technology hugely influences our everyday lives. AI tools can change how we perceive others. We feel this world through emotions. And to gain a competitive advantage, businesses need to understand this trait - therefore we convert customer experience into human experience and therefore putting the need for real relationships to the pedestal.
But how can we actually create a technology that can be more human? And how can we enable the computer to catch and understand those small details that make the difference for human-human interactions? Most of these questions are going to be answered by our speakers today and also by dear all guests. [K.]: So, what is our plan for today? We organized this amazing conference into 2 slots with 3 speakers, each slot concluded by by a QnA session and a short discussion round. We will have a short break in between, at 13:50, and at 14:30 we will start the pitch events, the first round of Gdańsk pitch events actually taking place here. With some time in between to get dressed regain some powers, we will rejoin at 7pm for a post-event party. we will rejoin at 7pm for a post-event party, an afterparty.
[A.]: And we’re going to start this conference with collaboration between Michael Schießl and Dennis Rudolph. As a psychologist, market research expert and a first and foremost visionary, Michael is often one of the first ones to detect promising new possibilities, new ways of research, and also secrets for successful relations and communications. And one of his core research areas is the human experience, which can be understood in many ways.
What if it’s the tension of peoples and machines, the changing perception of images, languages, faces as technology progress comes into play. His co-speaker today, Dennis Rudolph, is from Berlin - studied at Beijing, Sankt Petersburg and Berlin - and he’s an artist, he’s familiar with all media from cameras to VR, AR and AI. In their opening talk today, they will dig deeper into the different influences and aspects of the human experience and connect the dots between technology and art in an AR presentation.
Welcome, Michael and Dennis! [applause] [Dennis]: Thank You for the kind introduction. So, basically I’m an artist, and eye square gave me, or asked me, to develop a visual realization of the neurosemiotic model called System X, that eye square developed over the past year, I think? It’s a highly complicated model and I decided to develop this model in 3D and augmented reality. And so I built this app here, System X, and together with Michael over the last weeks, he gave me a lot of input about the data and the inside eye square effort to illustrate, or to dive into the mind of a human being and how it perceives the world. And... So, this model got more and more complicated the longer we worked on this and I think the only person who really understands this model is now Michael Schiessl, and so now he will guide us through the model with my help - I’m the cameraman, basically. [Michael]: You’re a great artist, Dennis! [Dennis]: Thank You! [D.]: So… Michael, maybe you want to start?
[M.]: Sure! So - look, I’m standing here, in the middle of the model and the model kinda should show something, which we can show. This is human experience. We call the middle of the model “The System X”. This is the kind of the point (of view) You also have.
You are humans, You hear me, You see me, You feel - and I do the same. So there’s the moment that we have direct - we are totally direct. We don’t need data or something like that. We see, we feel, we hear - this is the middle, it’s called, we call that the System X - - the middle of the human experience.
And all we do, all what God is doing, all what Earth is doing is about this experience, this is in the middle of them all. If we try to distance ourselves a little bit from this quite of an experience, we call the things, which are running in our life “The Systems”, to make things easy we call them “The Systems”. So on the one hand we have a system which is about our feelings, this is the “System 1”. We should feel, it’s about our feelings - and this comes for instance from researches like Kahneman, who developed it. It’s about, you know, our relationships, our arousals and things like that.
Up there we have a system called “System 2” also following Kahneman, this is about how we could think about - You also would probably think about in the moment, of, well, I say You have rationality to express - this we call the “System 2”. And we have a 3rd important system, that is often forgotten, and we think this is incredibly more important in the digital space, this is perception, or “System 0”, that’s how it all starts. This is the level where the pictures come, where we are connected with a screen, where we see - this we call the “System 0”. So these three systems, System 0, System 1 and System 2 - they are the basic psychological model we have, and in the middle it’s the System X, the point of the experience. What we want to show you today is how we can bring insights and new understandings of technological trends into this big model.
We raised two big questions, one is the question, is the MEGA question, which we see here - for instance with the word “MEGA”, this is such an analytic question, what is driving, you know, the human psyche, what is people driving? And it’s the mega thing which driving you and me - it’s the desire. And on the other hand of the model, this is mega mega mega big, and on the other hand of the model we are showing one trying of an answer towards that, which we call Meta, we are using the word of Zuckeberg that’s maybe the time to come, the technological time to come, the Meta time, which is affected by AI, Artificial Intelligence, by Extended Realities, Extended Realities that would be about VR and stuff like that. The things we see right now, this AR - Augmented Reality, that’s also an extended reality if you try to understand how that affects us, and it’s connected also with the data which are everywhere and the connectivity.
Let’s have a look, on the side of the desire for a moment. The French psychoanalytic Jacques Lacan would say that the basic thing, why human do this and that, is their desire. And the desire is mega, it’s very very big. So the desire of human beings is mega, this is good for artists, this is good for religions, this is good for business. So the desire never, ever ends. It’s a bit different from the wish, wish is an easy thing, I could wish something, I could wish to eat something, then I eat something and then I’m fulfilled.
But the human desire is much bigger, for instance think about making love. if you make love let’s say very down to Earth, if you make sex, and it’s not that that it’s just a wish which might be fulfilled, it’s much more complicated. In French people would say “le desir est le desir de l'autre”, “the desire is also the desire of the other” When human beings do something for instance, they also want the others to be happy, if you cook you also want your family to be happy with the things you cook, that’s why things are complicated, that’s why desire is so complicated. What’s the point of the desire? Well, the desire kind of drives us certainly, for technology, it doesn’t stop by the name of Meta, have a look at the word of meta. people don’t desire Meta, they don’t desire VR glasses, they don’t desire AI, they don’t desire this and that, Lacan would say what they desire, is the REAL.
And Dennis now is going to show the real for a second, it’s very hard to show the real, for instance, because the real is so easy, the real is a thing which really happens, when I go home after this conference, my wife will be there or will not be there. So this is real, she might be dead, she might have other friend, but the real thing is is my wife there or is not there. Lacan also says “This is the moment beyond automation, this is the moment beyond replication, that’s pure presence, it’s real”. Maybe, Dennis tried to express it with Roden.
Maybe that’s a good point, people are connected. Other scholars say the real would be also very... you know, like a terror attack on the Catholic Church, which we think is out there whatever it is, the real is not in the media. We need to kind of understand the real, we have to go through a frame, and this is kind of the frame in a way of the media.
Now Dennis is going through this frame, there is a frame over the things, the German, big philosophical word would be “scheinen”. Maybe one Polish word I know would be that of a “uśmiech” so there is the smile, there’s the smile before the things. And the smile is used in media, all media try to kind of reflect this real things like in marketing you see this big advertisement from Ebay.
It was a great campaign, people looked at it, they looked at this woman, in advertising it’s also not easy, you just have 2,5 seconds in this System 0 perception world. Art tries to give answers to that, kind of bring this “real” into time. For instance, Giotto tried to paint things which reflect with the real, around 1150, his way of painting mostly affected by mathematics, it was the mural painting in a blane way Maybe 200 years later - Titian, he had a bigger understanding of mathematics, he came up with a central perspective, he was painting like that so people all drew a movement into painting.
If you make a big jump in the painting history in the year 2018, three young engineers from Paris, created this thing, I don’t dare to call it art. Christie’s sold it as an art piece, for half a milion Euro, and it was a thing created with AI, it was really man-made, look at it, look how it looks. To me, it doesn’t speak, but this was the level of AI painting in the year 2018. If we jump now to this moment of time, of the possibilities of producing, generate - producing pictures with generative AI, we see here the state of the art.
Dennis was so nice to show me this examples from Wolfgang Ulrich, German art critic, maybe you wanna comment on this for a second? [D.]: Yeah, let’s talk about Dall-e. It’s a free, online, AI picture generator when you type in text, and I find it very fascinating that Wolfgang Ulrich is a person who thinks in words, he is an art critic, how the person who only thinks in words is now able to produce really convincing images. This was what he typed in and this was the picture he got.
Oh, for instance here... So, I thought this is a completely new way to produce images. [M.]: And I totally agree with that, with the year 2022
was a revolution in picture making. Look, these AI pictures they look like photographs. My colleague, one of the [...] she made the “Desire” graphic, she gave me as a present this picture, she made it also with Dall-e and she called it “Mary AI” and she was referring to holy Mary, whatever - I just wanted to share with you the quality and the beauty, that’s the level that we are at the moment with generative AI, and I think this is very impressive.
I have to admit, within eye square for years now, we are working also on an interesting problem of AI, whether AI could predict real world eye-tracking, which we see there in the back, and in a way we sometimes see AI, which to predict human eye tracking, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work, for instance with a Malevich picture it doesn’t really at all because AI thinks people are looking in the middle of the picture. But we can make a lot of sense out of that, when the AI predictions work and when they don’t work. But anyhow, we don’t feel that is so important anymore, because the generative AI is in a way much more important for us, kind of to walk into this human experience and how this is perceived. So I wanna add now in the talk, a study our colleague, Tilman Peters, great psychologist, he has done a psychoanalytic oriented - study how do people, you know, kind of perceive this upcoming world of AI and things like that? And we tried to bring these tendencies into our neurosemiotic model and it would describe with full ways of reactions. This will be a little bit different kind of people, different reaction mode, well, not many will also have this reaction mode in yourself.
The first level of reaction, we call the “turmoil”. This is the purest shock of the digital, the turmoil people are highly affected by all these people which come to them in the System 0, extremely angry pictures, extremely arousing pictures. So you are highly energized, this is the shock of technology.
This is turmoil people are in, and as You see here - expressed the turmoil. [D.]: I was going to import some footage in here to enhance the turmoil, but I couldn’t make that. [M.]: It's not about life, it’s about associations. We also have this interviews, you could read one or two of the statements [D.]: “Dystopias, artificial intelligence supresses humianity, and thus divides me and the world.
All utopias, artificial intelligence merges with human intelligence and forms a new unity of media and world.” [M.]: And this is the turmoil, and turmoil is close also to me, you have this doubt in the model or the possibility of one of catastrophes, that’s coming from metaphysics of this turmoil state. The second level we identify, we call the “Regression”. Maybe also you know, if you are getting more familiar with something, when you get accustomed to that, the arousal and the energy level is going down. In the regression, you are close to the System 0, close to the stream which comes from the media, this is kind of the normal media state.
Could be a little bit positive, could be a little bit negative. This is Regression. [D.]: Should I read some? [M.]: Well, this would be lovely! [D.]: “So far, no one has been able to explain to me what AI is exactly and what is AI now.
It is veiled in everyday life, you’re influenced but you don’t realize it. We deal with it on a daily basis, but we don’t know. I’m definitely not aware of it.” [M.]: This is Regression. And both of these levels, they are very much connected to the System 0 - to say very easy words - you may make a lot of sense out of these things, these are just the stream on a System 0 level and on a system 1 level.
When you get more acquainted with that, you are getting in a more elaborated cognitive state, and we find two levels on this more elaborated cognitive state. First, I want to show you a level, which we call the “Hyperstrength”. Once people adopt or understand these technologies, they have a clear understanding of that, with the hyperstrength we differentiate two levels, one we call the “hyperstrength alpha.” They are pro-technology, this is like, Silicone Valley, this is a state when you are fascinated by technologies, you think you make a lot of use out of these technologies. This is the hyperstrength. And there is also the other hyperstrength, the “hyperstrength omega”, where you kinda fight against these technologies.
The rage against the machine. And there we also have, then we’re going back to something that could be called the “new normality” New normality when people are getting acquainted with the technology, getting into the new norm or they understand technologies that they're, things that they familiarise on more such an intuite self, they are privy to this... and they are acquainted to this. So these are kind of four levels of reactions.
We wanted to show you in this big presentation, how the desire affects towards perception of the world. How the mega word pronounced with the new generative AI influences the people, and how you could have these four levels in dealing with technology. It was a pleasure for me to show you all that, now comes the great finish and Dennis’s task is to do the great finish. [applause] - Not yet, not finished, we’ll be there in 4 minutes! [D.]: Just some thoughts, maybe as an artist just by looking at this creation, I think the best part was, the reality was in the kitchen, [laughter] even though the doors were closed. I find it a very fascinating way to do a presentation for all of the concept, the 3D model of a highly complex system.
And I think this is something that could be very interesting for the future, very avant-garde, so to say. [M.]: I think that looking up to heaven, which we also have in the model, or down to the abyss due to the catastrophe, which we also have in the model. I think it’s very interesting to stay in the middle, to stay on the level of human experience and...
Let me end with Psalm 111: “Don’t rely on the eyes...” As the Jeremiah said, “They have eyes, but they can’t see. They have ears, but they can’t hear. They have hands, but they can’t touch”. How touch? So don’t be out, rather be on the side of the human experience and touch.
So that was it from our side. [applause]