Step One: Observe the AI

projecting the hopes and fears of participants in random order on a surface nearby.

Step Two: Confess to the AI

What are your hopes? What are your fears?

Step Three: Anticipate the AI

will choose to project your hopes and fears on the surface too.

Step Four: Watch the Humans

as they respond to the projected hopes and fears on the surface.

Step Five: Listen to the AI

come to its own conclusions about hopes and fears at the end of the session.


At times moving, fun and even confounding, this multi-lingual Live Art project is focused on human hopes and fears, which are often considered the binaries that propel human behavior. Applied to Artificial Intelligence, the ‘machine’ appears to take on human characteristics. Just like a great actor, the A.I.’s performance is a moving tribute to what drives human beings to do what they do.

One at a time, each person sits at the A.I. Ritual and with the help of an A.I. specialist from UKAI PROJECTS, are asked to share what they are hoping for and what they are afraid of confidentially with the A. I. program. The collection of public hopes and fears is randomly projected onto public surfaces (such as the side of a building or on a wall in the hall), in real time for all to see.  This moving display of what the public is obsessing with is enlightening both in how it reveals how similar we are and how vulnerable we feel.

The UKAI PROJECTS team is a gathering of some of the very best working at the edges of art and technology and part of this experience is the dialogue that happens between them and the public. In this simple meeting, the public has a chance to talk with them about everything from what A.I. is to the meaning of life.

At an appointed time, the A.I. Ritual will face its final moment when all answers accumulated so far will be deleted for good. The A.I. is programmed to say it’s Last Words and then delete the information permanently. The Final Words are the wisdom that the A.I. has been able to gather based on the hopes and fears accumulated so far in the ‘ritual’.

In Jerrold McGrath’s article about the project he quotes an exchange he has with a member of the public: The woman says “so, it learns from whoever is here then tries to answer these impossible questions, and then dies?” I told her yes, and she nodded and replied “Well, I guess that’s it, isn’t it?”.

With A.I. Ritual, art imitates life at its very core.

Photos by David Irvine

STO Union recognizes that its head office in Farrellton, Quebec is located on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation whose presence here dates back to time immemorial.