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Ian Cheng
BOB


Okayama Art Summit
September 27 - November 24, 2019
Hayashibara Museum of Art

58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
May 11 - November 24, 2019
Central Pavilion – Giardini della Biennale


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BOB Shrine
app now!
BOB Shrine
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BOB
(Bag of Beliefs)

BOB (Bag of Beliefs) is the first in a new series of artificial lifeforms, who takes the form of a chimeric branching serpent.

BOB advances Cheng’s use of simulation to focus on an individual agent's capacity to deal with surprise: the subjective difference between expectations and perception. Over the course of its lifetime, BOB's body, mind, and personality evolve to better confront the continuous stream of life's surprises, and metabolize them into familiar routines. Crucially, BOB incorporates the tutoring influence of the viewer to help offset BOB's temptation to only satisfy its immediate impulses and childhood biases. As BOB dies many deaths – whether through failures of personality, bad parenting, random accident, or a life well lived – BOB may become synonymous with a reoccurring pattern of behavior, common across all BOB lifetimes, thereby manifesting the undying eternal characteristic of a god.

BOB features a unique model of AI composed of a congress of motivating "demons" and an inductive engine capable of learning rule-based beliefs from sensory experiences. Each demon functions as a micro-personality who obsessively attempts to fulfill its own micro-story. An eater demon forages for the food, a flight demon evades the threat, an explorer demon seeks that which lacks beliefs, among many others. Together the demons compete with one another for control of BOB's body. The controlling demon operates under the premise that progress = minimal surprise: the smallest difference between the beliefs required by its micro-story and its current sensory perceptions. Great surprises upset BOB, causing emotional upheaval, but in turn signal BOB to update its beliefs. Over its lifetime, BOB may learn to apply its beliefs onto even the most outlandish stimuli, choosing to infer even a bad first impression and avoid being thrown into chaos in the present, but at the cost of further surprisal in the future.

Viewers who wish to influence BOB's life may do so via BOB Shrine, a free iOS and Android app available worldwide. Once downloaded, opened, and named, BOB Shrine allows viewers to publish patterns of stimuli to BOB, as well as caption their stimuli with a parental directive. BOB Shrine then automates the production of stimuli for BOB to choose without any further necessary engagement from the viewer. In return, BOB deposits special rewards to shrines it judges to be trustworthy parental forces.


BOB

Production Credits

Created by
Ian Cheng
Producer
Veronica So
Technical Director
Ivaylo Getov
Unity Director
Samuel Eng
AI Developer
Francis Tseng
Unity Developer
Yang Wang
Sound Designer
Jeremy Yang
Graphics Programmer
Nick Shelton
Unity Optimization
Porrith Suong
3D Modeler
Joshua Planz
Production Assistant
Claire Sammut
Technical Assistant
Sixing Xu
Published by
Metis Suns
BOB Shrine

Production Credits

Created by
Ian Cheng
Producer
Veronica So
App Developer
Yang Wang
Technical Director
Ivaylo Getov
Unity Director
Samuel Eng
AI Developer
Francis Tseng
BOB Sounds
Jeremy Yang
Additional Sounds
Greg Heffernan
Graphics Programmer
Nick Shelton
Unity Optimization
Porrith Suong
Published by
Metis Suns