In a time when society is gearing itself up for the upcoming artificial intelligent quickening, much has been written about singularity, robots as job-stealing enemies and the trade-off between safety and autonomy. By positioning themselves in a distant science-fiction future, these and similar conversations fail to consider that AI is already proliferating – through criminal justice, healthcare, education, access to credit and hiring – and its impact has affected diverse communities in radically different manners.
In 2010, Stephen Hawking famously claimed that “Without imperfection, you or I would not exist”. Inspired by the genius of such a visionary mind and as a tribute to his recent death, in this salon we will investigate the encroachment of AI into our daily lives through the lens of imperfection. Imperfection, as the (alleged?) trait that distinguishes human from artificial intelligence; imperfection, as the uncertainty of messy and missing data and of predicting what might happen next, which are the fields where humans still perform better than computers; and, finally, imperfection, as the alarming artificial stupidity that most superintelligent machines display today.
Some of the questions we strived to answer: If the AI revolution is already happening, how will we as humans interact with robots when they become a more visible part of our everyday lives? And how will they interact with us? As AI grows up and starts to think, not just to learn, how human-like do we want their intelligence to be? And if we need robots to have morals, how can they learn ethical behavior, if there is no “user manual” for being human? How do we even translate the concepts of good and evil into the language of zeroes and ones? Could Shakespeare and Tolstoy help? How does AI intersect with issues of race, gender, aging and our future histories? How do old and new fictions about robots and automatons affect and reflect our way of thinking about AI in the 21st century? If superintelligent machines will be capable of human-level performance on the full range of tasks that are often thought to be uniquely human capacities, including general intelligence and moral reasoning, how will this impact on the way in which we conceive of ourselves? Will this translate into a radical end to human exceptionalism? Or, rather, will this force us to conclude that the most profound essence of our human nature lies in our fallibility? Will AI teach us that imperfection is what makes us human?
This salon took place on April 3rd, 2018.
Kate Crawford is a leading researcher, academic and author who has spent the last decade studying the social implications of data systems, machine learning and artificial intelligence. She is a Distinguished Research Professor at New York University, a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New York, and a Visiting Professor at the MIT Media Lab. Kate is the co-founder and co- director of the AI Now Research Institute: an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to studying the social impacts of artificial intelligence. In July 2016, she co-chaired the Obama White House symposium on the impacts of AI in the near term in relation to labor, health, social inequality and ethics.
Stephanie Dinkins is an artist interested in creating platforms for ongoing dialog about AI as it intersects race, gender, aging and our future histories. She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to develop deep-rooted AI literacy and co-create more culturally inclusive equitable artificial intelligence. She is a 2017 A Blade of Grass Fellow and a 2018 Truth Resident at Eyebeam, and her work has been exhibited – to quote her – “at a broad spectrum of public, private, and institutional venues by design”, including the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the corner of Putnam and Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Rediet Abebe is a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University. Her research focuses on algorithms, AI, and applications to social good. She is a co-founder and co-organizer of Black in AI, a group for sharing ideas, fostering collaborations and discussing initiatives to increase the presence of Black people in the field of artificial intelligence. She is also a co-founder and co-organizer of Mechanism Design for Social Good, an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research group working on applications of algorithms and AI to social good. Her work has been supported by fellowships and scholarships through Facebook and Google. She is also a 2013-2014 Harvard-Cambridge Fellow.
Fernanda Viégas & Martin Wattenberg are pioneers in data visualization and analytics. They co-lead Google’s Big Picture data visualization research group (part of Google Brain team), and have co-founded the People+AI Research Google initiative, which is devoted to advancing the research and design of people-centric AI systems. They are world-known for their groundbreaking visualizations of culturally significant data, which have been exhibited in venues such as the MoMA, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Hugo Liu, Ph.D. is the founder of Artadvisor, a tech startup building the world’s leading art valuation technology. There are hundreds of factors that influence an artist’s market, from auction results and critical reception to the reputation of an artist’s gallery. Artadvisor applies machine learning and taste-based AI to distill these hundreds of factors down into a concise and actionable snapshot of over 50,000 artists.
Mike Tyka, PhD Biophysics is a researcher of machine learning at Google and a science artist who studies the structure and dynamics of protein models. He is the co-founder of ALTSpace, a shared art studio in Seattle, where he creates sculptures of protein molecules. Since 2015 Mike has also begun working with artificial neural networks as an artistic medium and tool. He created some of the first large scale artworks using Iterative DeepDream and collaborated with Refik Anadol to create a pioneering immersive projection installation using Generative Adversarial Networks called Archive Dreaming. His latest generative portraits series “Portraits of Imaginary People” has been shown at ARS Electronica in Linz, at the New Museum in Karuizawa (Japan) and at the Seoul Museum of Art.
Ajay Revels is a strategic design researcher who loves great questions. She works at the intersection of biology, anthropology, product design and systems thinking to create products that are pleasant to use, profitable and, when possible, pro-environment. As a user experience (UX) consultant with 17 years of experience turning insights into actionable maps and mockups for new online products, services, or go-to-market plans, she has worked with design agencies like Razorfish, HUGE and Flow Interactive and corporate clients like Panasonic, CNN, Merrill Lynch, TD Ameritrade and Barclays.
Danielle Belgrave is a machine learning researcher in the Healthcare Research Group at Microsoft Research, in Cambridge (UK). Her research focuses on integrating medical domain knowledge to develop statistical machine learning models to understand disease progression and heterogeneity. She obtained a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics from London School of Economics, an MSc in Statistics from University College London and a PhD in the area of machine learning in health applications from the University of Manchester. Prior to joining Microsoft, she was a Medical Research Council Fellow at Imperial College London.
Ulrich Furbach is a retired Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Koblenz and Adjunct Professor at Vellore Institute of Technology in India. He is co-owner of wizAI solutions GmbH. His research interests include knowledge management, automated reasoning, multiagent systems, and cognitive science. Ulrich obtained his Diploma and Habilitation in informatics from the Technical University of Munich and his PhD from the University of Bundeswehr. He directed the Automated Reasoning Group at the TU Munich from 1987 to 1990 and the Institute for Knowledge Media in Koblenz from 2000 to 2003. He was president of CADE Inc., he was a board member of the European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence and he was speaker of the German AI Society. He is co-founder and owner of the spin-off company wizAI (www.wizai.com), which develops knowledge management systems, information systems and solutions for digital signage.
Addie Wagenknecht is an artist whose work explores the tension between expression and technology. Seeks to blend conceptual work with forms of hacking and sculpture, her work has been shown at galleries and museums in Vienna, Paris, Istanbul, London, and Eindhoven. In 2016 she collaborated with Chanel and I-D magazine as part of their Sixth Sense series and in 2017 her work was acquired by the Whitney Museum for American Art. Her work has been featured in numerous books, and magazines, such as TIME, Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, Art in America, and The New York Times. She holds a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, and has previously held fellowships at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in New York City, Culture Lab UK, Institute HyperWerk for Postindustrial Design Basel (CH), and The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.
AI: SOME FACTS
Artificial Intelligence Fact Sheet, Content Science Review (10.14.2017)
Fukuda, Toshio, and Dario, Paolo, Humanoid robotics—History, current state of the art, and challenges, Science Robotics, vol.2, no13, pp.92-102 (12.20.2017) [sorry about the firewall]
Gillespie, Tarleton and Seaver, Nick, Critical Algorithm Studies: a Reading List, Social Media Collective (12.15.2016)
Paglen, Trevor, Invisible Images (Your Pictures Are Looking at You), The New Inquiry (12.08.2016)
FRIEND OR FOE?
Burt, Andrew, Leave A.I. Alone, The New York Times (01.04.2018)
Gibbs, Samuel, Elon Musk: artificial intelligence is our biggest existential threat, The Guardian (10.27.2014)
Kurzweil, Ray, The Age of Spiritual Machines, Viking Press (1999)
Moscrop, David, Will Robots Set Us Free?, Boston Review (02.07.2018)
Shore, Matt, Future thinking: will artificial intelligence overtake humans?, The Guardian (12.30.2016)
Waters, Richard, Robots: friend or foe? Financial Times (05.06.2016)
AI & BEING HUMAN
Ayanna Howard Interview - Trust in Human-Robot/AI Interactions, Black in AI (02.12.2018)
The sci-fi geek urging us to question our relationships with intelligent machines, This Cambridge Life (02.22.2017)
Fukuyama, Francis, Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, Picador (2002)
Haraway, Donna, A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century, in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, Routledge (1991)
Hovve, Julia, Tech-artists on sex bots and the alarming future of the female body, Indie (03.14.2018)
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Sandel, Michael, The Case Against Perfection, The Atlantic, vol.3, pp.51-62 (April 2004)
Sharon, Tamar, The Human Enhancement Debate: For, Against and from Human Nature, in Human Nature in an Age of Biotechnology: The Case for Mediated Posthumanism, Springer, ch.III (2013)
Weizenbaum, Joseph, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation, W H Freeman & Co (1976)
AI & ETHICS
Barthelmess, Ulrike and Furbach, Ulrich, Do We Need Asimov’s Laws?, MIT Technology Review (05.16.2014)
Glase, Daniel,Why we must teach morality to robots, The Guardian (02.26.2017)
Marcus, Gary, Teaching Robots To Be Moral, The New Yorker (03.12.2015)
Mitchell, Oliver, Healthcare’s regulatory AI conundrum, Robohub (05.14.2018)
Mullan, John, We need robots to have morals. Could Shakespeare and Austen help?, The Guardian (07.24.2017)
Nishant, Arora, Failures would bring AI-powered chatbots closer to humans: experts, YourStory (08.08.2017)
Riedl, Mark O. and Harrison, Brent, Using Stories to Teach Human Values to Artificial Agents, Association for the Advancement of Artificial (2015)
AI FOR (SOCIAL) GOOD
Abebe, Rediet, Computational Perspectives on Social Good and Access to Opportunity, Association for the Advancement of Artificial (2018)
Jackson, Tom, Can big data offer hope for Africa’s exasperated commuters?, The Guardian (10.07.2016)
Klein, JoAnna, Robotic Fish to Keep a Fishy Eye on the Health of the Oceans, The New York Times (03.21.2018)
Shetty, Salil, Artificial Intelligence for good, Amnesty International (06.09.2017)
AI & HEALTHCARE
Chong, Denise, Teach robots to be imperfect to keep ourselves human, The Straits Times (02.21.2016)
Johnson, Owen, Artificial intelligence could transform healthcare, but we need to accept it first, Robohub (08.19.2016)
Pontin, Jason, Danny Hillis talks about the real-world challenges of creating artificially intelligent machines, MIT Technology Review (11.01.2006)
THE GRIM SIDE OF AI
Angwin, Julia and Larson, Jeff, Despite Disavowals, Leading Tech Companies Help Extremist Sites Monetize Hate, ProPublica (08.19.2017)
Buranyi, Stephen, Rise of the racist robots – how AI is learning all our worst impulses, The Guardian (08.08.2017)
Conger, Kate and Dell, Cameron, Google Is Helping the Pentagon Build AI for Drones, Gizmodo (03.06.2018)
Ghosh, Dipayan, Beware of A.I. in Social Media Advertising, The New York Times (03.26.2018)
Gleisner, Jacquelyn, Robots, Race, and Algorithms: Stephanie Dinkins at Recess Assembly, Art21 (11.07.2017)
Aguera y Arcas, Blaise, Art in the Age of Machine Intelligence, AMI (02.23.2016)
Cascone, Sarah, Robot Artist Weaves a Stunning Web at Victoria and Albert Museum, Artnet’s news (05.19.2016)
Ings, Simon, Hello, Robot: The show that braves the future, New Scientist (05.31.2017)
Khan, Nore, Towards a Poetics of Artificial Superintelligence, After Us (09.25.2015)
Kraus, Rachel, Of course Parisian Google is developing AI experiments for the art world, Mashable (07.03.2018)
Nakazawa, Hideki, Waiting For the Robot Rembrandt: What needs to happen for artificial intelligence to make fine art, Nautilus (02.15.2018)
Owano, Nancy, Google and MoMA collaboration enlivens modern art connections, Tech Xplore (03.13.2018)
Richards, Julian, Art tries to pass the Turing test, New Scientist (02.23.2016)
Schlossman, David, The Politics and Poetics of Robotic Performance, A Journal of Performance and Art, vol.30, no2, pp. 83-87 (May, 2008)
Statt, Nick, Google’s AI Duet lets you make music with a virtual pianist, The Verge (16.02.2017)
THE BANALITY OF AI
Hito Steyerl and Kate Crawford on stupid AI and the value of comradeship, e-flux (01.27.2017)
Crawford, Kate and Steyerl, Hito, Data Streams, The New Inquiry (01.23.2017)
Hatice, Gune and Price, Huw, Robots can go all the way to Mars, but they can’t pick up the groceries, Horizons (February 2018)
Media Dish, Pensive deviled eggs? Irate gazpacho?, Los Angeles Times (08.15.2007)
Singh, Push, Barry, Barbara and Liu, Hugo, Teaching machines about everyday life, BT Technology Journal, vol.22, no4 (October 2004)
Shane, Janelle, Do neural nets dream of electric sheep?, aiweirdness (03.07.2018)
Stegman, Casey, What Plato has taught me about artificial intelligence, Medium (31.01.2017)
Columbus, Chris, Bicentennial Man, Buena Vista Pictures (1999)
Garland, Alex, Ex Machina, Universal Pictures (2015)
Jones, Duncan, Moon, Sony Pictures Classics (2009)
Jonze, Spike, Her, Warner Bros (2013)
Lang, Fritz, Metropolis, UFA (1927)
Spielberg, Steven, AI, Warner Bros (2001)
Wachowski, Lilly and Wachowski, Lana (as the Wachowski Brothers), The Matrix, Warner Bros (1999)
Why AI researchers like video games, The Economist (05.13.201)
Dockrill, Peter, In Just 4 Hours, Google’s AI Mastered All The Chess Knowledge in History, ScienceAlert (12.07.2017)
Kojima, Hideo, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001)
Parkin, Simon, AI Is Dreaming Up New Kinds of Video Games, MIT Technology Review (11.29.2017)