On February 25, 2020, 60 students at the Practical University of Rotterdam (HRO) started an 8-week long ‘design challenge’ in which they will create interactive installations. Guided by SHERPA artist Tijmen Schep, twelve teams will critically reflect on the power of machine learning and automated decision making.
To help them iterate quickly, students will be supplied with ‘ready-made’ code from two art pieces that artist Tijmen Schep is producing for the SHERPA project. Firstly, his ‘smart water guns’, which have a built-in AI camera so they can only shoot certain groups in society. The second is ‘Survival of the most algorithmically attractive’, an installation that compares and judges two people, and decides which of them seems more employable. This pushes the boundaries of what algorithms could be used for in the future, as SHERPA advocates for ethical AI.
The capabilities of AI tend to be overhyped and over-exaggerated. To prepare students for their future careers it’s vital they learn to think about the limits of algorithmic processes and gain a critical stance towards technological determinist modes of thinking in general.
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