AI - an apokalyptic vison

Allegory untitled5 (Robot), 2017, oil on wood, 100*50 cm

"Apokalyptic Vision

And a being of artificial spirit appeared in the world, pretending to be human. But it was a chimera resembling a godless robot, with a human form, an animal head and the clumsy gait of a machine. To it the world meant nothing, for it devoured creation, digested it, and excreted chaos."


Quote from my book „DOMSEELEN (Dome Souls) – traces of sence in Aachen Cathedral“.

Who knows me a little better, knows about my constant search for hidden realities and the mystical-surreal. Often, however, I find analogies that do not come across as surreal at all, but rather suggest an obvious reference to the "reality of things". So it happened to me with this picture of a vision to AI (artificial intelligence) from the marble of the Aachen cathedral. Appropriately to this topic, the film iHuman was shown on Arte TV on the evening of 21.4.2020, to which there was an article worth reading in the FAZ on the same day (title: Allein unter Monstern) by Ursula Scheer. The documentary images and interviews with the so-called disciples of AI in the film reveal an apocalyptic vision of the future related to us humans. A "good", i.e. human-friendly AI would be an illusion. The relationship of digital systems learning without limits and acting on their own authority would be similar to the relationship we have with animals: We don't hate them, but we ruthlessly subjugate them to our own targets.

But what do we humans do with this information? Is it not the case that, apart from a few sleepless nights perhaps, we simply accept or, worse still, ignore developments precisely because we do not understand them in depth? How can it be that in everyday life we allow ourselves to be lulled by the external conveniences in the clutches of Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Amazon, etc.? Why don't the youth recognize and discuss the apocalyptic downside to at least the same extent as they actually denounce climate change?

My appeal as a painter: wake up, become more vigilant and, in the face of one danger, do not overlook the greater one emanating from the wrongly appointed of the digital age.

In "Of the Wonder of the World" from the ancient Tao te king, the gloomy vision resonates as part of the sense of the world, and yet there is a comfort. However, a weak one only if we accept AI in its development as a fact of nature. But exactly this it is not!

The nature has not love after human kind:
Her creatures are like straw dogs,
Cleaned for sacrifice, then rejected ...


Not love after the manner of man has the appointed one,
The strong one of fate: He sacrifices the people
To the greater goal ...


But see: is not the earth securely founded,
Constantly the dome of heaven vaults,
With sun and stars and shining moon,
And everlasting life? -–


We do not know the force that moves everything,
The goal not, towards which everything carries itself,
And marvel at the wonder ...


But words fail -
Here it behooves us to be silent
And to gaze mutely into the abyss of the riddle ...