This review was not written by, nor assisted by, nor edited by AI, but by David Walters, a sentient being.
Stephen Hawking said, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” “Not to worry,” says the AI in Bioadapted, “Eradicating humanity seems like a rather useless endeavor to me.” If AI says so, it must be true, right? Because it learned everything it knows from the internet, right? What could go wrong, right?
Be calm my shattered nerves.
Transforma Theatre is presenting its new show Bioadapted at a really cool art space in Queens called Culture Lab, which is a destination unto itself. The show touches on a myriad of aspects of society and how we humans live within it, or more succinctly, how it will soon be living within us.
Transforma’s mission is to meld the live theater experience with what is happening in the scientific world of epigenetics, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence and present it in an entertaining and informative way to a live audience.
What they’ve put together in Bioadapted is a thought piece about the new world of electronic synchronicity that is steamrolling right at us. Whether it will flatten us or smooth our passage is yet to be determined. The play is a compilation of several disciplines, several authors, several creators, and several ideas, all in good service of, “…showing virtue her feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time (its) form and pressure.” Just what theater is supposed to do according to Hamlet.
Bioadpated is an amalgam of future thinking culled from books, seminars, news stories, TED talks, and imagination that looks at how and where we are possibly headed in the great melding of electronics and what it means being human. In this science-in-theater piece, several aspects of possible future outcomes are examined in real-time as they are presently developing, as well as examining possible scenarios of future existence.
This play will either scare you, give you the heebie-jeebies of what’s to come, or inspire and excite you about the speed of change that is occurring around us and the new world it is ushering in. It wasn’t really that long ago that computers first started to become fixtures in homes. Now your watch does 10x more than those computers ever could and we’re soon going to be accepting the ease of electronic implants supplying alternative realities tied into synchronization. It’s already here in the late test stages and only moments before it will be all our reality. Bioadapted will make you think about what’s to come and how you may plan (perhaps feebly) to either reject or embrace the joining.
A thought I had about all this future stuff that Transforma Theatre was playing with, is that I and my fellow audience members experienced it in a form of communication that grew out of the communal prehistoric fire. Storytelling and information sharing which had its beginnings in a primal setting, was now discussing something that will take us all away from that group experience and could bring us into, possibly a more peaceful world, but a siloed world of non-communal experience.
There were things in the show that I didn’t understand how they worked – the BCI (brain-computer interface) to influence actors’ movements with brain data. There were things I learned – the mainstreaming of interracial marriage in a relatively short time. There were things that frightened me – the harvesting of all of our memories and feelings. And things I was in awe over – the live audience interaction with the AI GPT-4.
I’m not sure if this theatrical experience will prepare you for what is coming, but it will at least make you aware.
Bioadapted, created and directed by Tjaša Ferme and assistant directed by Nasay Ano.
Running September 7-24, 2023
The performance will run approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.
As always, this is just one person’s opinion in a world filled with them.