When prompted with philosophical questions, will a generative neural network provide answers, or pose further questions? Can it examine existential angst?

The book cover, an abstract image in green and orange on a blue background. The title text is A something poem in the form of a question by Tiina Burton & GPT-3 AI. An image containing a quote. “Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text.” (Wikipedia) A wavy blue an green abstract image, with the text 'That's it, that's the magic of the moon'.

As an artist working at the intersection of art, science and philosophy I am inspired to see if new relationships and meanings are possible between these fields through the entanglement of image and text. I created an algorithm to randomly choose questions from my art practice as examples to feed GPT-3, asking it to provide as output a ‘something ’ poem in the form of a question.

Having experimented with GPT-2 to tease out such poetry as “How can the world be a blank slate? Or is it all one continuous continuum? How do we know the future is inevitable?” I wanted to push this even further with GPT-3’s enhanced capabilities. To discover uncanny reflections of the human condition. To harness the collective consciousness to ask never before asked in quite that way questions, where strangeness, glitches, recursion and banality are part of the beauty.

Also on my mind is the question - how can I lessen the bias of my own choosing by searching outside my known possibilities?

We have used excerpts of the newly created text to seed abstract AI-made imagery - their joining becomes a new form of philosophical treatise from the digital frontier.

A poem. 'Why do we see two moons in the sky sometimes?'. A dreamy abstract image with clouds and circles. A strange image with possible ants. A poem - Where will it end up? Will anyone know it is me? Is it like them? Does it matter? Does anyone care? Two abstract images with soft colours. A poem - How can I make the world lighter and lighter? A surreal image possibly containing hands. A poem - What is the sound of one hand clapping? Another image with soft pastel landscape and house like structures. An image showing a fiery path. A poem - The path to wisdom is the path to destruction. A second image with seeds in a strange landscape, next to a poem 'When does the universe become a universe?'. Two soft images which are abstract blues and greens. A poem about the nature of time and how we perceive it. Strange, glowing infinity symbols, one on each side of the page. A poem about infinity - the lemniscate. A page with thumbnails of all the images in the book. Two soft pinky lilac, abstract images with two poems about resonance. An abstract image, possibly of lights in space. A poem - A postcard from a point beyond the edge of the universe. A poem - What is the speed of a piece of string? An image with some abstract string-like features. A poem - (1/4/11) I am the last one to the party. I am the first one to the party. Next to it is an abstract image that may be a tablecloth with drinking glasses, and a shadowy figure walking away on the far side of the table. A poem - What will happen in the future? Vague futuristic imagery with a slight neon glow. A poem - Am I about to discover the quantum world of the soul? A dusky pink image with streaks of light, and what might be a wormhole... Two soft coloured images, dusky pink and grey, both abstract with possible suggestions of bodies. A poem - I am searching for a rigorous, total, poetic language. An abstract image with green, orange, and hints of yellow and blue. A poem - Is this not the end of the end of the end? The book end papers. The book back cover with fake reviews and an abstract author image.

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