What is it like to be a mobile phone? What can we learn about American rental architecture from Craigslist? What is it like for wind to blow through language encoded in a neural network? These are not the type of questions that scientists and engineers are likely to ask, but as an artist I use 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. This talk outlines several of my recent creative projects created while 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, the goal of this talk is to explore the ways that artists, scientists, and engineers can collaborate to create paradigm shifts in AI.
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, Thompson’s work uses conceptual processes like remix, translation, and visualization to physicalize and give materiality to otherwise invisible processes. He is Assistant Professor and Program Director of Visual Art & Technology at Stevens Institute of Technology, where he is also the coordinator of the Arts & Music research cluster at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence. This fall, Thompson is a Visiting Fellow at King’s College and artist-in-residence at the Computer Laboratory, both at University of Cambridge.
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