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 April 29th, 2015.
Adam Bly is a scientist, entrepreneur, and thought leader who has spent the past 15 years innovating at the nexus of science and society. He is founder and CEO of Seed Scientific, the global data innovation firm. Adam was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, was a Visiting Senior Fellow in Science, Technology & Society at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. Prior to founding Seed Scientific, Adam founded and served as editor-in-chief of Seed, a print and online magazine (published from 2001 to 2012) with a mission of modernizing science’s place in society. “The best comparison for Seed,” wrote a media critic, “is the early years of Rolling Stone, when music was less a subject than a lens for viewing culture.”
Claudia Perlich is Chief Scientist at Dstillery, as well as an adjunct professor in the NYU Stern MBA program. She uses her computer science background towards her current research on the application of machine learning and predictive modeling to real-world problems. Claudia was recently selected as member of the annual Crain’s NY 40 Under 40 list, Wired’s Smart List, and Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People. Previously, Claudia worked at the IBM Watson research lab, where she won numerous data-mining competitions, and she is still actively involved in local NGOs with a focus on data for social good.
Hugo Liu is a consumer taste researcher, data scientist, and a partner at Hedonometrics, an innovation consulting firm conducting research into the neuroscience of play and community wellbeing and positivity. He recently helped produce a data and architecture exhibit for the Guggenheim. Previously, Hugo was a Principal Scientist at eBay, where he leveraged machine learning and a massive behavioral dataset to map out consumer tastes and forecast brand trends. Hugo is an advisor to Harvard University’s Experiment Fund and to numerous tech start-ups. He has a PhD from MIT, where he also taught courses in artificial intelligence and the philosophy of aesthetics.
Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a transdisciplinary artist and educator interested in art as research and critical inquiry. Heather has shown work internationally at events and venues including the Poland Mediations Bienniale, Ars Electronica, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, the Science Gallery Dublin, MoMA PS1, the New Museum, and Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City. Her work has been widely discussed in the media, from The New York Times and the BBC to TED and Wired.
Mike Bostock Visualizing Algorithms (06.24.14)
Shaunacy Ferro Why Algorithms Are The Next Star Designers Fast Company (05.07.14)
Jeremy Howard The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn TEDxBrussels (12.14)
Steve Lohr If Algorithms Know All, How Much Should Humans Help? The New York Times (04/06/15)
Geoff Manaugh The Algorithms at the Heart of the New September 11 Memorial MuseumGizmodo (05.14.14)
Gary Marcus Is “Deep Learning” A Revolution in Artificial Intelligence? The New Yorker (11.25.12)
Charlie Neer In a Predictive, Algorithmic World, Are Machines Better Than You? Fast Company (31.01.13)
Nicholas O’Brien Are Algorithms Conceptual Art’s Next Frontier? Artsy (03/24/15)
Kevin Slavin How Algorithms Shape Our World TED Talks (07.11)
Roman Verostko Algorithmic Art: Composing The Score For Visual Art (1999)
Mark Wilson The Future of Death? An Algorithm That Decides Who Deserves To Inherit All Your Stuff Fast Company (06.17.14)