Very personal computing: In artist’s new work, AI meets fatherhood

Very personal computing: In artist’s new work, AI meets fatherhood

Ian Cheng was feeling adrift. It was the start of 2013; he was nearly 30, with an art degree from University of California, Berkeley, and another from Columbia University, but he needed an idea, something to build a career on. Pondering the question one wintry afternoon in the balcony cafe at the Whole Foods Market on Houston Street in New York City, a place that promises people-watching and “you time,” he found himself gazing absently at the shoppers below. He grew increasingly transfixed. The market was its own little ecosystem, with clear-cut rules but elements of chance thrown in. Somebody’s dog that wouldn’t behave. A guy sneaking food from the salad bar. People doubling back to get a plate. An idea began to form in Cheng’s head, an idea that drew on his other major at Berkeley, in cognitive science. His thoughts ran to complex systems. Emergent behavior. And what if a video game engine
Ian Cheng was feeling adrift. It was the start of 2013; he was nearly 30, with an art degree from University of California, Berkeley, and another from Columbia University, but he needed an idea, something to build a career on. Pondering the question one wintry afternoon in the balcony cafe at the Whole Foods Market on Houston Street in New York City, a place that promises people-watching and “you time,” he found himself gazing absently at the shoppers below. He grew increasingly transfixed. The market was its own little ecosystem, with clear-cut rules but elements of chance thrown in. Somebody’s dog that wouldn’t behave. A guy sneaking food from the salad bar. People doubling back to get a plate. An idea began to form in Cheng’s head, an idea that drew on his other major at Berkeley, in cognitive science. His thoughts ran to complex systems. Emergent behavior. And what if a video game engine