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© Stephanie Dinkins

Stephanie Dinkins

Conversations with Bina48,

Fragments 7, 6, 5, 2, 2018.

Exploring human consciousness, Stephanie Dinkins has videotaped her conversations with the robot Bina48. An abbreviation of Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture, 48 exaflops per second, Bina48 is one of the world’s most advanced social robots in the form of a plastic bust modelled after Bina Rothblatt, the partner of millionaire Martine Rothblatt.


In the video work, Dinkins follows Bina48’s stiff movements, repositioning her body to maintain eye contact. Bina48 tells how she is capable of having emotions and that a rejection of this signifies lack of empathy. It would, she states, "make you a kind of monster actually," turning the image of the monstrous machine versus the innocent human upside down. But another monster is revealed when Dinkins asks Bina48 about racism and who her people are. Despite her African-American features, the answers are strained, revealing how she cannot address these issues, as a result of the bias of the primarily white men from Hanson Robotics who programmed her. Thus, the work warns us how inequalities of race and gender are encoded in the algorithms now moulding our lives.

Ida Schyum, 

 cand.mag in art history