From ‘Apple’ to ‘Anomaly’ (Pictures and Labels)

For a 2019 commission in the Barbican’s Curve Gallery in London, I took a close look at the most widely-used “training set” used in AI – ImageNet, a database of over 14 million images organized into more than twenty-thousand categories. The installation was made out of approximately 30,000 individually printed photographs, showing the precarious relationshipsContinue reading “From ‘Apple’ to ‘Anomaly’ (Pictures and Labels)”

They Took the Faces…

Contemporary facial-recognition algorithms were first properly researched in the early 1990s. To conduct that research, computer scientists and software engineers need large collections of faces to experiment with and to use as performance benchmarks. Before the advent of social media, a common source of faces for this research and development came from mugshots of accusedContinue reading “They Took the Faces…”

Eagle-Eye Photo Contest

While photographing and shooting a video of NSA infrastructures in Germany for Laura Poitras’ film Citizenfour, I was stopped and interrogated by police and military on a nearly daily basis. Although what I was doing was perfectly legal, the military still insisted on harassing me while I was doing my job. My response was toContinue reading “Eagle-Eye Photo Contest”

Training Humans

I conceptualized this exhibition with Kate Crawford to tell a story about the history of images used to ‘recognize’ humans in computer vision and AI systems. We weren’t interested in either the hyped, marketing version of AI nor the tales of dystopian robot futures. We wanted to engage with the materiality of AI, and toContinue reading “Training Humans”

Sites Unseen

Sites Unseen was a major solo exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum curated by John P. Jacob, where I presented my early photographic series alongside more recent sculptural objects and new work with AI. With this exhibition I continued my contribution to the ongoing conversation about privacy and surveillance in contemporary society. There wasContinue reading “Sites Unseen”

The Trolls

As part of broader efforts to manage cyber bullying and online trolls, AI researchers are attempting to create algorithms that automatically detect what kinds of online content constitute “trolling.”  This piece is made from a dataset designed to teach AI algorithms what kinds of language patterns are typical of online trolling. Viewers should be warnedContinue reading “The Trolls”

Hallucinations

One of the most common applications of Artificial Intelligence is to do automatic object-recognition and image-captioning. When you upload an image to Facebook or other social media, powerful Artificial Intelligence algorithms can recognize the identities of people in images, the objects, the products and even the places depicted in those images. AIs are taught howContinue reading “Hallucinations”

Behold these Glorious Times!

This video installation is composed of images from two sources. The photographic images in the video are parts of training libraries used to teach artificial intelligence networks how to recognize objects, faces, gestures, relationships, emotions, and much more. They are images designed to teach machines “how to see.” The second kind of images in thisContinue reading “Behold these Glorious Times!”

Fanon

A standard technique in facial recognition software is to use an algorithm to create a “faceprint” of a given person and to use that faceprint to try and match a person’s face with photos. To grossly oversimplify, if you want to teach an algorithm how to distinguish a particular person (say Fanon) from a collectionContinue reading “Fanon”

Shoshone Falls

This is a photograph of an iconic location in the history of Western landscape photography. The 19th Century photographer Timothy O’Sullivan famously shot these falls on a survey mission for the American Department of War. His images of this waterfall are some of his most iconic works and some of the most well-known images ofContinue reading “Shoshone Falls”