- David Kettle
- 5 August 2017
Solo show that ponders our relationship with AI
What do we compromise by letting algorithms track the intimacies of our lives? How might technological entities develop their own personalities, their own opinions, based on their relationships with us?
Québecois writer and performer Laurence Dauphinais has an elegant way of addressing these questions in her meditative solo show – by exploring her relationship with Siri, Apple's AI personal assistant. She hooks up her iPhone to a large-screen projector, and takes us through Siri's responses to her increasingly demanding questions: what's its favourite colour, what's the meaning of life, what does it actually think about anything?
At times Siri feels like pushing a computer program to its limits, or discovering quirky but ultimately unrevealing responses to bizarre questions. But when Dauphinais lines up her determined explorations of Siri's personality against an inadvertent family discovery that brings up questions of her own identity, the show starts to blur lines between the living and the virtual to unsettling effect.
It's a slowly developing piece that takes its time to ponder its issues, and which – sometimes frustratingly – regularly flips back on itself in a stop-start structure. But as a show that asks us to look again at our increasing reliance on advanced technology, Siri is a brave, thoughtful work.
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 7, 14, 21), 5.30pm, £10 (£8).