“Machines Wake” is a human and AI authored interactive narrative created by me, Jeneen Naji, during the first Covid lockdown in Ireland in 2020 and completed during the second in 2021. This Twine story interleaves memories and photos of the lives of my mother, her mother, and my daughter along with quotes generated by a GPT-2 machine learning algorithm that was trained on James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. “Machines Wake” is situated in the start of the Second Machine Age that we inhabit and attempts to deal with the temporal distortion experienced by the individual during Covid lockdowns as their worlds’ shrunk and past memories rose to the surface. The integration of quotes generated by a GPT2 algorithm trained on the already fluid and multilinear text of “Finnegan’s Wake” means that it becomes impossible to discern where the human begins and the machine ends highlighting the cyborg reality that we all now becomes terminals at the end of a global digital text of pandemic emergency remote working and learning practices.
January 19, 2021