From the Artificial Life Coach website
Artificial Life Coach encourages critical thinking about the limitations of AI; refutes AI as panacea for complex problems and exposes effects on vulnerable populations

(SAN FRANCISCO | JUNE 4, 2024) - Don’t believe all the marketing hype around AI. There are some serious downsides, warns the creator of Artificial Life Coach (ALC) — a Mozilla Creative Media Award recipient — who uses satirical performance art on social media to encourage critical thinking about AI. ALC explores how AI can deepen existing racial, economic, and gender inequities, expose communities to algorithmic harms, and further entrench power in the hands of a few. The stakes are high and disastrous consequences can hit the vulnerable the hardest, ALC notes.

Through thought-provoking content and humor, Artificial Life Coach redirects attention to the ethical and societal implications of AI by targeting a particularly vulnerable group: young women. The project's hub offers a curated selection of educators, activists, and artists on real-world AI topics such as bias and surveillance — and leverages TikTok to meet young people where they are.

Inspired by magicians like Harry Houdini, who exposed the parlor tricks behind psychic claims in the early 20th century, ALC discourages its audience from treating AI like a crystal ball, using it to make decisions and predictions even when evidence shows it often fails. The moniker pokes fun at Silicon Valley’s embrace of questionable shamans, gurus, and coaches to solve every world, business, and personal problem — and exposes the AI industry’s ethics washing.

The artist and activist behind Artificial Life Coach, Şerife Wong, warns: “AI is not a panacea for what ails us. Encouraging AI skepticism is vital to empowering vulnerable communities: Even if it gets things right some of the time, it gets things wrong a lot for women, children, people of color, and those living with disabilities. Artificial Life Coach provides accessible, engaging content that challenges mainstream narratives."

Encouraging AI skepticism is vital to empowering vulnerable communities.

Şerife Wong, Mozilla Creative Media Awardee

Named one of the 100 Women in AI Ethics in 2021, Wong is a Turkish-Hawaiian artist and leads the organization Icarus Salon, where she investigates art, power, and technology, advocating for justice in AI systems and amplifying artistic voices in policymaking. She has collaborated with institutions like Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences on projects that blend conceptual art with research on AI ethics and governance. She is also a former editor at Artnet and has received awards for her work from the Rockefeller Foundation and Creative Capital.

The Mozilla Creative Media Awards fund people and projects that explore the complicated relationship between ethics and AI systems, uplift art and media to communicate complex technical concepts, deepen society’s understanding of technology, and demand accountability from those who build and deploy it. Past awardees have created interactive experiences, games, videos, films and more, and projects have gone on to show at a variety of regional and global film festivals (IDFA, Tribeca, TIFF, Cannes) and museums (Tate Modern, MoMA, HKW), to name a few.

Artificial Life Coach is part of the 2023 CMA cohort unpacking how AI is — and should be — designed.

The Creative Media awards are part of a comprehensive set of activities supported by the NetGain Partnership, a collaboration between Mozilla, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation. The goal of this philanthropic collaboration is to advance the public interest in the digital age.