ELIZA’s Adventures in the Uncanny Valley
by Eugene O'Brien & Gavin Quinn
ELIZA’s Adventures in the Uncanny Valley explores what it is to be human, how artificial intelligence interferes or modifies natural human characteristics and scrutinises what is real and what is illusion, artificial or not.
In the early 1960s, MIT developed artificial intelligence software called ELIZA, its title a direct reference to Shaw’s Pygmalion. ELIZA made certain kinds of natural language conversations between humans and computers possible.
Our ELIZA is sent into an anonymous motel, where she interacts with four characters who are all mysteriously booked into the same room. Some of them seem to be barely alive, others too much so, and others may not be real.
We are observers to a test: ELIZA is both learning from and assessing these individuals. In a series of scripted scenes, they explore love, death, metaphysics, evil and evolution, probing the points in our society where boundaries may be on the verge of disintegrating.