The Turing Normalizing Machine, AlgorithmicPrejudice


The British scientist Alan Turing was a
mathematician, logician and cryptography expert, and was considered
one of the most important scholars and investigators in the field
of applied mathematics and the beginnings of computer science. He
first made a name for himself for being part of group of
mathematicians cracked the secret Nazi Enigma Code during the
Second World War. Turing completed numerous other studies and his
best known projects include the Turing Machine, the precursor the
first computer. In fact, he believed in a future where machines
could be thought of as free entities. His important contribution to
the history of society, however, did not save him when, in 1950, he
was convicted of homosexuality and chemically castrated. Sorely
tried by the medical treatments and isolated from a society that
considered him abnormal, Alan Turing died of poisoning in
mysterious circumstances. Life, death and the Turing machine were
the inspiration for The
Turing Normalizing Machine
, the work of the artists
Yonatan Ben-Simhon and Mushon Zer-Aviv. The machine is presented as
a scientific experiment and functions a tool for analysing and
defining the concept of social normality. Each participant is
presented with a video line up of 4 previously recorded
participants and is asked to point out the most normal-looking. The
person selected is card-indexed algorithmically by the machine,
which collates the normality data. Videos of the participants are
added to the database to develop a more complex model of normality,
which aims to get closer to decoding the mystery of what society
considers “normal.” So the participants are faced with, in all
cases, the concept of algorithmic prejudice. The alarming
realization is that there are scientific mechanisms can lead to a
systemic bias. Benedetta Sabatini


The Turing Normalizing Machine