EMODI and CUC are two adversarial AI agents… but yesterday they started talking to each other, and maybe they now have a common plan.

ph. edit from markus spiske / unsplash

February 23, 2032.

Almost ten years ago, the city of London launched an experimental program for the analysis of social behavior, demography, mobility, education, health and employment. Since then, exciting results have been achieved thanks to the enormous availability of data and the simultaneous development of two intelligent adversarial agents named EMODI and CUC.

EMODI is “vertical” intelligence, the selfish agent whose role is to maximize the objective function assigned to it. CUC, on the other hand, is the “horizontal” intelligence, that in the perennial search of the maximum collective interest.

Under normal conditions, EMODI and CUC interact and challenge each other in the generation of billions of possible futures, each seeking its own preferable one. Their elaborations are useful for men to make better choices. But for some days this normality seems to have become less normal. Some say that EMODI and CUC have now a common plan. Yes, but what?

The only thing certain is that Elizabeth is in danger.

The self-driving ambulance that is taking her to the hospital has been trapped in traffic due to crazy traffic lights. And as someone starts to notice a little girl desperately beating her hands from behind the glass of a driverless ambulance, Peter — a doctor who is going to his wife’s birthday party — suddenly sees his UBER ride change destination and get right there, in the street parallel to that of Elizabeth.

Peter hears people pleading for the arrival of a doctor and rushes out of the car, runs towards the frozen and agitated crowd, grabs Elizabeth and realizes that she is in anaphylactic shock. The same shock that Peter had when he was 17, when he was saved by an adrenaline injection. Bag. Syringe. Arm. Adrenaline. Sweat and calm. Elisabeth finally breathes.

Meanwhile, a video filmed by a passer-by ends up in the Guardian news almost immediately. The reason? The compromised account of the author of the video tweeted him with tags that put him straight into the last conversation of Jack, a Guardian journalist, who immediately publishes the video. Finally, in a few seconds, Peter becomes the hero of the day.

Small problem: why was Elizabeth, the prime minister’s daughter, in danger and alone in a robotic ambulance trapped in the middle of a traffic jam? And what brought Peter and an anonymous passer-by with a broken twitter account there, in the right place at the right time? EMODI and CUC have a common plan and are putting into practice one of their possible futures. But what does Elizabeth have to do with it?

Riccardo is Beretta’s Digital Business Development Manager. Graduated in Engineering, he has served in various marketing roles before focusing on business transformation and digital platforms since 2016. In the last decade, he has developed a personal interest in exploring the potential of computational privacy/trust towards a more effective and sustainable data driven society. With the aim of contributing to a wide and open conversation about MIT’s OPAL project, he published “The end of Personalinvasion” (2019) and “OPAL and Code-Contract: a model of responsible and efficient data ownership for citizens and business” (2018). He is a member of the advisory board of “Quota 8000 — Service Innovation Hub” at TEH Ambrosetti. Since 2000 he experiments with digital art as an independent researcher. Some of his projects have been acquired from the permanent ArtBase collection of Rhizome.org — NY (2002) and exhibited at the Montreal Biennial of Contemporary Art (2004), as well as at Interface Monthly (London, 2016, by The Trampery and Barbican). In 2015, he released FAC3, one of the first artworks in the world to use artificial intelligence. He is married and father of two. Want to drop a line? → riccardo [d ot) zanardelli {at} gmail [ do t} com