Existential Loop - Does A.I. shed mechanical tears when trees are cut down to power machines?

Installation Overview | Mechanical Tears Equation (1 Acre = 1 drop)

When one acre of forest is cut down, a vast river within the atmosphere shifts, reorienting the flow of nature. When a machine processes information, that same machine requires minerals and energy linked to that same forest loss.

If a machine had a conscience, would it have regrets? Would it ponder the unbalance between capitalism’s accelerated timescale and the temporality of life cycles in the global environment? Would the machine reflect on itself, question what it is made of and assess the operational cost of the imbalance between timescales within the world ecology system? Would the machine lament the loss of distant trees? And would it draw a connection between its machine self, the minerals that compose it, and those same trees?

Existential Loop proposes a bio-machine as an artwork that challenges the dis-synchronization between human time and biological life cycles in nature. This techno-ecology includes a self-aware hybrid machine that integrates an

  • AI capable of learning, through self-examination and searches on the Internet, about the social and environmental costs of its material existence
  • and an algorithm of time forecasting based on an AI that learns from life cycles in nature and estimates the collapses in the environment in the near future.

The bio-machine considers the actions of its own industrial production (mining, deforestation, subemployment) and also the time of the life cycles of plants, that is required for nature to recover. Our artwork allows the machine to articulate its responsibility for habitat destruction and data extraction, through digital lamentation, shedding tears and, ultimately, self-immolation.

How much of the tears shed by a person or a machine originates from the Amazon river basin? When the rainforest is no longer a forest, will there be any tears left?