The New Real, a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, The Alan Turing Institute and Edinburgh’s Festivals, is a unique hub for AI, creativity and futures research which is presenting The New Real Salon at the Edinburgh Futures Institute on Friday, 28 October:
a launch event for the free, drop-in Showcase continuing over the weekend (29-30 October). The event is part of DataFest Fringe.

The New Real Salon & Showcase will look at how Artificial Intelligence interacts with people and the planet in fascinating and unanticipated ways, becoming a creative, playful and deep part of new artistic works and our everyday lives. Responding to EFI’s First Breath programme theme, the audiences will discover how Art and Artificial Intelligence combine to fuel delightful new cultural experiences and help heal our planet in crisis.

Those attending the Salon (28 Oct) will be able to hear from a range of experts and leading innovators, including Prof Drew Hemment who The New Real’s project principal investigator, Dr Matjaz Vidmar, (Astro)Physicist by training and The New Real’s co-investigator, Steph Wright, from the Scottish AI Alliance, a leader in the development and use of trustworthy, ethical and inclusive AI and Lex Fefegha who works at the intersection of design, code, speculative fiction and art.

Audiences will also hear from leading contemporary AI artists and designers who have created cultural and AI powered experiences to reflect on the role natural environments play within our lives and highlight the impact of Climate Change on local communities. Wandering Mind, performed by Gershon Dublon, is an AI-powered performance platform for shaping dreams with the sounds of our world, and interactive research project Thames Path 2040 by Lex Fefegha which attempts to visualise what Londoners might lose and what might remain in a future where heavy rainfall may lead to flooding on the Thames Path in 2040 – both projects will share unique behind the scenes insights into often hidden processes and challenges of working creatively with AI.

The New Real Salon will be streamed on the Edinburgh Futures Institute website here.

The Showcase (29-30 Oct) comprises The New Real Observatory Platform, a creative AI platform combining raw satellite data and climate modelling with AI processing engines which was co-created by a team of scientists, artists, engineers and designers. Powered by its conceptual architecture, three artworks investigating the entanglements of people, data, machines and environments will be presented at the Showcase, next to the aforementioned Thames Path 2040. They are:

The New Real Observatory Platform aims to create an accessible, usable, low energy AI tool for artists and to enable them to connect global climate data to people’s lives through storytelling and interactive experiences.

With robot artist Ai-Da addressing the House of Lords committee and Microsoft bringing DALL-E 2 (AI software generating images from text) to its users, AI truly is part of our everyday lives. Recent advances in AI mean that as a society we are entering into a whole new context for making, sharing, learning, connecting and consuming creative content. What is the relationship between humans, AI and the environment, and how can art help us to better understand the connection between AI and the planet?

As part of The New Real Salon, a new Experiential AI Art Commission in partnership with the Scottish AI Alliance and The Alan Turing Institute will be announced. It will support the emergence of an enhanced research field for AI and the Arts. The Open Call for this new commission will go live in December 2022.