a star which is not a planet is a sun not a planet. (2019) 9 February - 17 March 2019

a star which is not a planet is a sun not a planet

a star which is not a planet is a sun not a planet.
Hrvoje Hiršl and Luis Rodil-Fernández
Croatia/Netherlands, 2019
Gmail, UV print on monomeric foil, size 400 x 250 cm

In 2017 Google introduced the “Smart Reply” feature in their Gmail product. Using machine learning, getting better the more you’d use it, it would propose three automated suggestions for a reply. The work a star which is not a planet is a sun not a planet. uses Google’s automated email function and trains it on the correspondence between George Boole and Stanley Jevons, thereby referring to Boolean logic as the theoretical foundation of digital machines, the basis of automation in a machine’s understanding of language and consequently the source of “Smart Reply”. Two email accounts replicate the written 19th century correspondence between Boole and Jevons. As Gmail learns from the writing style of George Boole it begins to offer “smart” replies to Jevons’ emails, highlighting the primitive nature of Gmail’s “Smart Reply” suggestions and its stark contrast to the original, highly formal communication between these scholars.

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