Trevor Paglen: Machine Visions
The advent of computer vision and various forms of machine learning and artificial intelligence have led us to a strange turning point in the history of images: the preponderance of images in the world are now made by machines for other machines, with humans rarely in the loop. This is a dramatic development not only in the history of images and visual culture, but in history itself. In the past, an image for all intents and purposes required a human viewer in order to exist. Now that has changed and much of the making and interpreting of images going on in the world happens without human eyes – invisibly. In this presentation, artist Trevor Paglen asks: What are machines seeing when they look at the world? What are the various formal assumptions of computer vision systems? How does the quantification of vision lead to all sorts of political operations masquerading as scientific endeavours? What, therefore, are the politics of a machine-readable world?
The Plonsker Family Lecture Series in Contemporary Art, established in 1994 by Madeleine Plonsker, Harvey Plonsker ’61 and their son, Ted Plonsker ’86, examines current issues in contemporary art.