“The experience questions our fundamental assumptions about AI while paying tribute to our endless creativity.”
— Sandra Rodriguez, Project Lead, MIT Open Documentary Fellow, and Visiting Scholar, Comparative Media Studies/Writing, MIT
As big companies race to build machines that promise to “emulate” the human mind, the legacy of MIT Institute Professor and emeritus professor of linguistics Noam Chomsky—famous for his teachings and reflections on intelligence and language—gets a closer look in this project. Through interaction and play, Chomsky vs. Chomsky explores how machine learning works, what it tries to replicate, and how it feeds from our ever-expanding digital trail.
“Artificial intelligence is hailed as the inevitable way of the future, transforming the way we interact with machines and with each other. But ‘AI’ is also a construct—and a very revealing one,” says project lead Sandra Rodriguez, noting that this mixed-reality experience draws from a vast arsenal of digitized and publicly available videos, lectures, and online materials featuring Chomsky. “The experience opens a timely conversation about AI, with AI, through AI—guided by no other than Chomsky-AI.”
Ultimately, Rodriguez says, the work asks two fundamental questions about AI: “What exactly are we promising to replicate? And in doing so, what are we leaving behind?”
This project was incubated at and supported by the MIT Open Documentary Lab, funded by Canada-Germany Digital Media Incentive, and supported by Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Programs and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Sandra Rodriguez, Project Lead, MIT Open Documentary Fellow, and Visiting Scholar, Comparative Media Studies/Writing, MIT
Launched: Presented at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival – New Frontier, January 23 to February 2, 2020.