MoMA R&D

Salon 15 The Way of the Algorithm

The algorithm has found its way not only into our lives, but into our everyday parlance, taking center stage arenas as diverse as art auctions, recording studios, trading floors, and biomedical laboratories. Whether crafting sonnets that rival those of Shakespeare, testing for Parkinson’s disease based on typing patterns, or helping employers whittle down the pool of candidates based on voice-pattern recognition, algorithms are a ubiquitous and indispensable component of our lives.

Moreover, when it comes to museum practice algorithmic art has a deep history. However, the advent of computers has paved the way for a proliferation of generative art. As cultural institutions scramble to ponder and, at times, acquire and archive algorithms, they confront a plethora of issues concerning intellectual property rights, conservation, and ontology.

Watch the videos from the salon and explore some of these questions: If humans are biased, and humans write algorithms, how can we ensure algorithms do not discriminate? As personalization algorithms become more sophisticated, helping us to navigate the cornucopia of information and goods, is the resulting “filter bubble” cutting people off from the cultural and ideological mainstream? How can we harness the potential of deep learning without falling trap to the “uncanny valley?” Are algorithms Conceptual art’s next frontier?

The salon took place on 29 April 2015

Speakers

Reading Resources