About Us

Question, was the painting below made by a human or an artificial intelligence? Our research finds that most people can’t actually tell. Yet, those same people are often convinced that they can, and will readily provide a slew of contradictory reasons as to how it was obviously produced or not produced by a human.

We offer this example because we are in an age where distinguishing between what is real or fake feels like an increasingly more urgent and complex demand. With the birth of virtual space, the psychological landscape of the modern world is changing drastically and at a rate previously unimaginable. This begs a more philosophical question, what does it mean to be human in the digital age? How do the demands of modern life influence how we perceive ourselves and the world around us? We are regularly confronted by a deluge of information from sources that are often disparate and difficult to evaluate. It seems only natural that questions of authenticity should arise in the wake of these developments. These are the kinds of questions the ACT Lab focuses on. Questions like, what kinds of decisions prompt us to think about our core identity? What tools should we use to evaluate who is or is not authentic? Can we deconstruct our perceptions of authenticity? How do we relate to new technologies? Is art distinctly human and what about that kind of distinction is meaningful? What value does "authenticity" imbue? As a leading expert on the subject of choice, Professor Iyengar and her team are uniquely suited to ask and answer these questions.

For more information about what's going on in the lab check out our research topics or research team pages.