Embodying the Algorithm is a series of performances composed by an artificial intelligence and performed by a group of human artists during COVID-19 quarantine conditions. In these performances, the artists who come from a variety of performance art practices, locations, and identities develop performances written by GPT-3: the largest language model in existence. OpenAI’s GPT-3 is capable of composing texts which are difficult to distinguish from human writing. The language model was trained on an enormous dataset of articles, books, blog entries, and texts, many of which were sourced from the internet. As a result, however, GPT-3’s text sometimes reflects the statements and ideas of the internet and its human authors including biases, prejudices, and sometimes hateful or toxic output. This has resulted in some controversy around GPT-3 adding to existing ethical concerns about artificial intelligence’s increasing presence in our lives.
This series of performances touches upon these issues of autonomy and individuality as well as the relationship between technology and the body, authorship and identity, and AI “creativity” vs. pattern matching or reproduction ultimately asking: what qualifies a work of performance art in consideration of human and non-human actors? What works of performance art might an artificial intelligence (help) generate? What can these performances tell us about ourselves and the human words and texts we immortalize online?