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Brief Published: 11 Jun 2014

Agnes: Artificially Intelligent Web Guide


Agnes is an artificially intelligent 'spambot' – an online, often automated computer program – that guides users on an emotionally driven journey through a website.

Agnes was created to explore the meaning of emotion in a non-human, digital world, according to its creator, Belgian-American artist Cécile B. Evans. The work is the first in a series of digital commissions hosted by the Serpentine Gallery in London – Agnes 'lives' within the gallery's website.

Agnes performs like a virtual guide, taking visitors through the Serpentine Gallery's new website. Introducing herself in stages, her personality evolves through her interactions with her online audience. The information she gives online visitors is individual and subjective, as she learns each person's online behaviour through a series of navigational tools.

The project presents an interesting new dimension for considering our interactions with digital content, and highlights new opportunities for brands to consider the role of emotions in online behaviour. The more the web user visits the site and interacts with Agnes, the more the program 'learns' their behaviour to offer a more fulfilling online experience.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming more sophisticated – earlier this week, a robot passed the Turing test for the first time by convincing judges it was a 13-year-old boy. For more on the potential impact of smart robots, see our robotics reporting from this year's SXSWi festival, which features AI artists, supercomputer chefs and low-cost Lollybots.