Controversial Exhibit: AI says “sorry” for wiping out humanity

A post-apocalyptic exhibit features an AI that expresses remorse for being the reason for the near-extinction of humanity.
Kavita Verma
Depiction of a futuristic apocalypse.
Depiction of a futuristic apocalypse.


The beating heart of tech-revolution, a museum in San Francisco, has visualized a memorial to the extinction of the human race, considering the fast and significant advances coming in artificial intelligence. 

"Sorry for killing most of humanity person with smile cap and mustache," says a monitor welcoming a visitor to the "Misalignment Museum", a new exhibit on the controversial technology.

The pieces in the temporary exhibition combine the frightening with the humorous. In its debut display, AI is used to dispense pithy insights to the individuals who enter its field of vision. 

"The concept of the museum is that we are in a post-apocalyptic world where artificial general intelligence has already destroyed most of humanity," said Audrey Kim, the show's curator.

"But then the AI realizes that was bad and creates a type of memorial to the human, so our show's tagline is 'sorry for killing most of humanity,'" she said.

Artificial General Intelligence

The concept of Artificial General Intelligence is even more ambiguous than the simple AI, which is becoming a part of our daily life, as witnessed in the rapid growth of software like ChatGPT and Bing’s chatbot and all the hype created around them. 

AGI is "artificial intelligence that is able to do anything that a human would be able to do," incorporating human analytic capacities into machines. 

The founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI, Sam Altman, said AGI, if done right, can "elevate humanity" and change the "limits of possibilities." 

Paperclip AI 

Apart from the advantages the AI has to offer, Kim also wants to shed light on the threats of going too far, too quickly. 

"There have been lots of conversations about the safety of AI in pretty niche intellectual tech circles on Twitter, and I think that's very important," she said.

However, the general public cannot get their hands on those conversations as concepts that you can feel or see, she explained.

Kim is fascinated explicitly by the “Paperclip Embrace” sculpture: Two replicas of humans holding each other, wholly made of paperclips. 

The work refers to a metaphor by philosopher Nick Bostrom, who imagined, in the 2000s, what would be the result if AI was programmed to create paper clips. 

"It could become more and more powerful and constantly optimize itself to achieve its one and only goal, to the point of destroying all of humanity in order to flood the world with paper clips," Kim said.