The year is 2019. Police cars can fly, people are having sex with lifelike robots and the exodus to off-world colonies has begun. This may sound like a sci-fi movie, but many of the predictions in the original Blade Runner movie—set just two years from now—have already come true, not least the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI). In such a world, the question “what does it mean to be human” has become more urgent than ever. Artists have been grappling with the subject of personal identity for some time, but now a cluster of exhibitions across the US examine the profound social and ethical effects of technology on the human condition. In Miami, Still Human—a group show that opened this week at the Rubell Family Collection—features works by 25 artists created in the past ten years in a broad range of materials including photography, sculpture, painting and video. “Our inclination is not towards technical works, our real concern is how technology is changing what it means to be human,” Mera Rubell says. Several pieces deal with the effects of automation on labour and the human body. Josh Kline’s sculpture, Thank you for your years of service (Joann/Lawyer) (2016), shows a well-dressed young professional woman lying in a clear rubbish bag, tossed away like an obsolete appliance. Created using 3D scanning technology, the work is a portrait of a real person who has lost her job. “Technological unemployment is going to be one of the defining political and economic issues of the 21st century,” Kline says. “Once self-driving trucks hit the roads, it will become impossible to ignore the impact of these technologies any longer, or to blame them on immigrants or globalisation. At the moment, economic suffering is being used cynically as a way to further reactionary political agendas.” Kline also ponders the benefits of automation…. Read more here…

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