The Trial of Superdebthunterbot

45 minute HD Video
2016

Narrative

A debt collecting company, Debt BB buys the student loan book from the government for more than it is worth, on the condition it can use unconventional means to collect debt. Debt BB codes an algorithm to ensure fewer loan defaulters by targeting individuals through the use of big data, placing job adverts on web pages they frequent. Superdebthunterbot has a “capacity to self-educate, to learn and to modify it’s coding sequences independent of human oversight” (Susan Schullppi, Deadly Algorithms). Five individuals have died as a result of the algorithm’s actions, by partaking in unregulated medical trials. In the eyes of the International Ether Court, can the said algorithm be found guilty?

Background

The Trial of Superdebthunterbot was first performed as an artwork on the opening night of the exhibition Collaborate! at Oriel Sycarth Gallery. The work was performed by lawyers; Oana Labontu Radu and Lauries Elks who wrote the prosecution and defence speeches and TV actor, Mark Frost who was the judge. The jury was made up of the audience on the opening night of the exhibition. The algorithm is housed in a see - through computer made by artist Daniel Dressel which sits in the dock.

In May 2016, the performance was restaged at Southwark Crown Court and a 45 minute film of the same title was shot. The film was premiered during the Goldsmiths MFA show.

For press about the work please have a look at these links

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/algorithm-trial-manslaughter-performance-art

http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2016/05/05/2160943/artificial-intelligence-on-trial/

http://www.lawyer-monthly.com/2016/07/artist-puts-algorithm-on-trial-for-manslaughter/

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/aug/08/back-to-art-school-grayson-perry-and-gillian-wearing-visit-degree-shows

http://www.techradar.com/news/world-of-tech/could-a-computer-algorithm-be-put-on-trial—1325901ould a computer algorithm be put on trial?

Currently on show at the Zabludowicz Collection 19.1.17 - 26.1.17

Court drawing of the trial. See the artist book made to document the trial with a transcript and seven court drawings by Helen Knowles and Liza Brett.

Court drawing of the trial. See the artist book made to document the trial with a transcript and seven court drawings by Helen Knowles and Liza Brett.

Documentation of the performance can be found here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMg2jOvsLNk