Now on view at swissnex San Francisco, Desperate times call for desperate measures, lol is an exhibition by Swiss artists !Mediengruppe Bitnik (Carmen Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo). For the exhibition at swissnex, !Mediengruppe Bitnik studied the information gleaned from the 2015 hack of Ashley Madison, an online dating service marketed to married men seeking mistresses. The hack revealed that the majority of female participants were chatbots, with 211 of these chatbots listed as living in San Francisco. !Mediengruppe Bitnik identified the 51 chatbots living closest to the exhibition space at Pier 17 to reproduce as “fembots” in the physical space, employing the original chat scripts revealed in Ashley Madison’s exposed code.
On May 20, swissnex San Francisco hosts the Bot Like Me symposium. Designers, technologists, artists, and writers will reflect on the state of human interaction with algorithms and the impact of these relationships. Speakers include !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Annalee Newitz, Liesl Yearsley, Jacqueline Feldman, Christopher Noessel, Joël Vacheron, Steve Omohundro, and Liz Klinger. The presentations will be followed by a dinner, and the Bot Like Me @Night party at 7:30 pm featuring performances by Alex Murray-Leslie (Chicks on Speed) and Forlove (Jasper Speicher). Tickets are available on the swissnex San Francisco website.