Machine's Eye View
Peter Nash X Lero Irish Software SFI Research Centre
Lero, the SFI Research Centre for Software, brings together expert software teams from universities and institutes of technology across Ireland in a co-ordinated centre of research excellence with a strong industry focus. Lero’s research spans a wide range of application domains from driverless cars to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, fintech, govtech, smart communities, agtech and healthtech. Hosted by University of Limerick, Lero’s academic partners include Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin,University College Dublin, Maynooth University, National University of Ireland Galway, University College Cork, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Munster Technological University, Waterford Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology. Lero’s overall vision is to establish Ireland as a location synonymous with high-quality software research and development, to the extent that ‘Irish software’ can enter the lexicon in the same way as ‘German automotive’ or ‘Scandinavian design’.
Peter Nash has built an immersive physical world from recycled materials, incorporating traditional methods of drawing, making and set building to narrate the journey of an autonomous vehicle. Nash has created a unique perspective, that of a machine, in order to explore the many hazards, situations, conditions and challenges encountered on a simple drive into town.
How do they see their surroundings, and how do they see their place in the world? Using the specific example of a self-driving car, this artistic enquiry seeks to understand the differences in how a machine sees, compared to our own human viewpoint.
What are these differences, and do we need to better understand machines in a world of increasing automation? Can understanding how a self-driving car sees and navigates its environment, help humans to see and navigate our own world in a different way?
Through accessible methods of making, using recycled materials, the artist has created an immersive physical world. Research supplied by Lero has been interpreted into a narrative which depicts the journey of an autonomous vehicle around a familiar environment. The vehicle comes across different questions, challenges, and situations along its way.
SFI Research Centre Statement
Professor Martin Mullins and Clare McInerney
From Lero perspective this project examines the differences that arise when we consider a machine driving compared to a human driver. Decisions are made in a different way and yet these decisions can have moral consequences. For hundreds of years, with Emmanuel Kant as a key staging point, we humans were thought to have unique insights in the areas of morality. The challenge for future programmers is to allow cars to think ethically. It is not only a technical challenge but a philosophical one.
"It is not only a technical challenge but a philosophical one."
All this is intimately related to the work of Peter Nash, ways of seeing - to borrow a phrase from John Berger - is a prerequisite for the 'good car' and Peter’s work addresses this phenomena of how future cars will see the road and see all of us.