Tom White, a lecturer in computational design at the University of Wellington in New Zealand, is tackling the concept of “algorithmic gaze” through art. In fact, his art depicts the world not as humans see it, but as algorithms do. While his prints appear to humans as meaningless blobs, to AI algorithms they look like specific objects and items, such as electric fans, sewing machines, and lawnmowers.
White started making this kind of artwork in late 2017 with a series of prints called “The Treachery of ImageNet”, a name which makes reference to a database of pictures commonly used to train and test machine vision algorithms. The role of White consists in setting a number of starting parameters for his perception engines, like the colors and thickness of lines, and winnowing the output, in order to reject prints which are not aesthetically pleasing.
But what are the ethical implications?
Some see this type of art in a negative way, by stating it is as another sign that AI is beginning to think creatively and take on roles reserved for humans.