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Pilgrimage into Walden XII - the Honor of Shepherds” is a game engine live simulation software of machine learning Artificial Intelligence that can be run on computer or mobile device. 

Pilgrimage into Walden XII - the Honor of Shepherds

The Honor of Shepherds ” takes place in a medieval magical fantasy land—Walden XII, where a digital indulgence system is used. Walden XII refers to “Walden Two”, a utopian novel written by behavioral psychologist, B. F. Skinner about a society where perfect behavior is achieved as a result of reinforced positive conditioning of the desired behaviors, while meeting basic needs of citizens. In a structure similar to that of the medieval church, Walden XII is entitled to explain the ideological doctrine to its people and has implemented the technology to enforce citizen behavior, collect big data from its citizens, then rewards or punishes them according to their behavior score.

The work shows 6 Artificial Intelligence (AI) “Social Shepherds,” who represent different classes and different levels of Intelligence. Each of them is designed in a different sense:

  • The Fluorescent Anomaly, Brain Urban Migrant W0rk3R

  • The Grave Sage Brain of Division, Brain Outsourced Pr0l3tar1at

  • The Noxious High Priest Since 1949, Brain M4st3r

  • The Imaginary Hurricane, Brain W01f W4rr10r

  • The Tribune of Cruel Delights, Brain B0urg3o1s  

  • The Sophisticated King of the Night, Brain L1t3rat1

They are made to guard the Walden XII and shepherd the citizens—cockroaches, protect them from the demons and monsters from other kingdoms, such as “ Freedom Iceberg”.. Each shepherd brain is trained on millions of examples of human-like movement patterns as a metaphor for big data and are scored according to a deviation from a set of ideal expressions. The Shepherds try to minimize the difference between what they believe is a correct movement to express, and what is known to be the true movements shown in the data using neural network supervised learning. In addition, the characters must learn how to act correctly, while also accounting for the natural physics in the game world. Namely, not only must they behave a certain way, they must do so while using their own natural physics. During the simulation, the system samples, and tries to determine which ones are under performing. Those that are deemed unacceptable by the algorithm, have their neural network replaced, and the associated character model is discarded. Since the work is of live simulations, the AI brains appear each time differently. Walden XII could be a simulated technology plausible future to our reality. The AI were built as overly muscular heartthrobs, as a metaphor of the artist’s Stockholm syndrome to centralized power.

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Installation View, 2020