Put AI to Work
April 15-18, 2019
New York, NY
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Artists and supercomputers: Creative collaborations in AI

Jeff Thompson (Stevens Institute of Technology)
1:00pm1:40pm Thursday, April 18, 2019
Interacting with AI
Location: Trianon Ballroom
Secondary topics:  Ethics, Privacy, and Security, Interfaces and UX

Who is this presentation for?

  • Engineers, scientists, research directors, artists, and designers



What you'll learn

  • Learn how AI in the arts can push tools and approaches into new territories by asking strange new questions
  • Understand that new products and technical ideas can come out of creative collaborations and that collaborations between artists and scientists can result in technical leaps and paradigm shifts
  • Discover the real impact that embedding artists in technical contexts can have on technical work and a culture of creative thinking


What’s it like to be a mobile phone? What can we learn about American rental architecture from Craigslist? What’s it like for wind to blow through language encoded in a neural network? These aren’t the type of questions that scientists and engineers are likely to ask.

As an artist, Jeff Thompson uses artificial intelligence to explore these kinds of ideas. Too often, we see the worlds of science and art as being opposite, but collaborations between artificial intelligence researchers and the arts can push tools and approaches into new territories and can result in tangible products and technical ideas.

Jeff outlines several recent creative projects created while an artist in residence at Bell Labs and the Computer Laboratory at University of Cambridge that push the tools of artificial intelligence in new directions. Part technical discussion of specific creative projects and part case study for embedding artists in technical institutions, this talk explores the ways that artists, scientists, and engineers can collaborate to create paradigm shifts in AI.

Photo of Jeff Thompson

Jeff Thompson

Stevens Institute of Technology

Jeff Thompson is an artist, programmer, and educator based in the NYC area. His work explores collaboration with, empathy for, and the poetics of computers and technological systems. Through code, sculpture, sound, and performance, Jeff’s work uses conceptual processes like remix, translation, and visualization to physicalize and give materiality to otherwise invisible processes. He’s an assistant professor and program director of visual art and technology at Stevens Institute of Technology, where he’s also the coordinator of the Arts and Music research cluster at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence. This fall, he’s a visiting fellow at King’s College and artist in residence at the Computer Laboratory, both at University of Cambridge.