by Blaise Agüera y Arcas, Alexander Todorov and Margaret Mitchell

A study claiming that artificial intelligence can infer sexual orientation from facial images caused a media uproar in the Fall of 2017. The Economist featured this work on the cover of their September 9th magazine; on the other hand two major LGBTQ organizations, The Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD, immediately labeled it “junk science”. Michal Kosinski, who co-authored the study with fellow researcher Yilun Wang, initially expressed surprise, calling the critiques “knee-jerk” reactions. …

by Blaise Agüera y Arcas, Margaret Mitchell and Alexander Todorov

Figure 1. A couple viewing the head of Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso preserved in a jar of formalin at an exhibition in Bologna, 1978. (Photo by Romano Cagnoni/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


In 1844, a laborer from a small town in southern Italy was put on trial for stealing “five ricottas, a hard cheese, two loaves of bread […] and two kid goats”. The laborer, Giuseppe Villella, was reportedly convicted of being a brigante (bandit), at a time when brigandage — banditry and state insurrection — was seen as endemic. Villella died in prison in Pavia, northern Italy, in 1864.

Villella’s death led to the birth of modern criminology. Nearby lived a scientist and surgeon named Cesare Lombroso, who believed that brigantes

What do art and technology have to do with each other? What is machine intelligence, and what does “machine intelligence art” look, sound and feel like? What are the emerging relationships between humans and machines; what does it mean to be human; and what can we learn about intelligence, human or otherwise, through art? How should we think about our future?

These are some of the questions we’ve been asking ourselves, especially in the wake of a series of breakthroughs in neural network-generated imagery beginning in the summer of 2015. Artists and Machine Intelligence is a long-term collaboration we’ve begun…

Art has always existed in a complex, symbiotic and continually evolving relationship with the technological capabilities of a culture. Those capabilities constrain the art that is produced, and inform the way art is perceived and understood by its audience.

Like the invention of applied pigments, the printing press, photography, and computers, we believe machine intelligence is an innovation that will profoundly affect art. …

Blaise Aguera y Arcas

Blaise Aguera y Arcas leads Google’s AI group in Seattle. He founded Seadragon, and was one of the creators of Photosynth at Microsoft.

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