Thinking Machine 4 explores the invisible, elusive nature of thought. Play chess against a transparent intelligence, its evolving thought process visible on the board before you.
The artwork is an artificial intelligence program, ready to play chess with the viewer. If the viewer confronts the program, the computer's thought process is sketched on screen as it plays. A map is created from the traces of literally thousands of possible futures as the program tries to decide its best move. Those traces become a key to the invisible lines of force in the game as well as a window into the spirit of a thinking machine.
View a range of still images taken from Thinking Machine 4.
About the work
More information about the project and answers to common questions.
Created by Martin Wattenberg, with Marek Walczak.
Thanks to Johanna Kindvall, Laura Wattenberg, Steve Sacks, Helen Thorington, and Turbulence.org
Built with Processing, an excellent graphics system created by Ben Fry and Casey Reas.
About the artists
Martin Wattenberg's work centers on the theme of making the invisible visible. Past projects include The Shape of Song, Third Person, the Whitney Artport's Idea Line, and Apartment. Wattenberg is a researcher at IBM, where he creates new forms of data visualization. He is also known for the SmartMoney.com Map of the Market. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from U.C. Berkeley. More info
Marek Walczak is an artist and architect who is interested in how people participate in physical and virtual spaces. This has led to projects such as Apartment, shown at the Whitney Museum and many venues worldwide, and Dialog Table, a commission of the Walker Art Center that replaces a keyboard and mouse with a shared interface based on gesture recognition technology. Current projects include a one block long fašade at 7 World Trade Center that reacts to pedestrians walking beneath it (for James Carpenter Design) and interactive video installations such as Third Person, recently shown at the ICA, London. Marek trained as an architect at the Architectural Assoc. in London and Cooper Union in New York. More info