Search engines and social media also control what reaches our awareness. Computer programs such as Chat GPT will soon have a similar impact. Safeguards are put in place within all these technologies so as to avoid inappropriate drifts. These safeguards, designed to promote safe public debate, can also exclude constructive dialogue. Certain topics are banned or fiercely downgraded. The power to include or exclude results on search engines thus determines what information shapes the public domain.
Sex, Desire and Data came under fire when it was first promoted because of its 'explicit' nature. Edouard Lanctôt-Benoît, Creative Developer involved in the production of the exhibition, points out that these algorithms prevent the dissemination of certain artistic representations, particularly in sensitive areas such as sexuality.
"The moment we talk about sexuality, we’re blocked everywhere,"
he explains, highlighting the restrictions imposed by AI filters. These filters, according to Edouard, limit discussion and creation around subjects such as sexuality, even when approached in a positive way. He denounces the fact that image generation algorithms "do everything they can to prevent the creation of images around sex," highlighting a problem in freedom of expression and diversity of artistic content in the digital domain.
The language generation model used for Max intentionally excluded sexuality from its conversational possibilities. For Lanctôt-Benoit, despite its pivotal place in the history of art,
"in AI you can't do nudes because it's deemed inappropriate now by the corporations [...] that build these models".
During its development, workarounds had to be conceived so that Max could converse freely.
Another limitation resulting from the digitalization of our world is the increased personalization of our virtual experience in order to better target the advertising to which we are subjected. The content consulted online is now extremely focused on our predetermined expectations, thanks to the multitude of data derived from our electronic behaviour. "ALGO MATCH" mimics this process by exploring the notion of 'compatibility' on dating applications. This interactive installation emulates the distortions in our conception of seduction resulting from the use of dating applications. The profiles we see are a tiny fraction of the real population. These platforms are trained to show us what we want to see, to the point where it proves difficult to access what exists outside our preferences.