Zoltán Szegedy-Maszák
Smalltalk 3.0


co-authors: Márton FERNEZELYI, Róbert LANGH, Richard ACZEL

Related work: Smalltalk

SMALLTALK 3.0, interactive artificial intelligence installation (installation view), 2006

In Smalltalk, two computer programs chat with each other on the subject the visitor has selected. The leading sentence which can be selected on the touch-screen of the handheld computer interface sets off the conversation, in the course of which the robots try to expound upon each other's reactions, and to keep the conversation going via the formation of increasingly appropriate responses. Their sentence-interpretational capacities based on mechanical symbol-reduction, precisely due to their misinterpretations, are frequently capable of producing variegated chatter for a longer or shorter period of time, which, upon entering into self-repetitions, reaches its end: upon registering such phenomena, the robots - in lack of a better solution, often provoking arguments - try to end the conversation as soon as possible.

In 2006 a completely renewed version of Smalltalk (3.0) has been developed for the exhibition Kempelen – Man in the Machine with the participation of Richard Aczel. Not only the re-written core software – engineered by Tibor Fóris – and the new large scale touchscreen display, but the enhanced robot-brains make this new version more sophisticated and entertaining. The user-experience is funny and dramatic at the same time. As the robots produce diverse and unique conversations over and over, it resembles not only the usual chitchat of parties and exhibitionopenings, their smattering also implies the loneliness and boredom of intelligent netizens withdrawn from physical reality.

SMALLTALK 3.0, interactive artificial intelligence installation (installation view), 2006