Art to Critically Examine AI & Robotics

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University of Ottawa, and adjunct curator with Ingenium

Art offers a unique lens through which to critically examine the technology we build, and (re)evaluate its meaning and function in the world. In the spirit of research-creation, the following two projects bring together emerging artists, engineers, ethicists, academics, and makers—as The CRAiEDL STEAM Collective—to interrogate both the various impacts robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are having on society, and the various ways that the arts and humanities can function as core to the practice of responsible innovation.

These two projects are presented as artworks, but the methodology used to develop them involved regular critical conversations among members of The CRAiEDL STEAM Collective. Those conversations were intended to continually challenge each member’s pre-existing disciplinary assumptions about the potential for “outsiders” to shape their core disciplinary work, be it creating art, making ethical arguments, or designing robotics and/or AI. The result was a reconfiguring of each member’s understanding of the potential for STEAM to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries to produce a new type of expertise (i.e. STEAM expertise) and knowledge (e.g. a critical STEAM-informed perspective on voice-based AI assistants, in the case of I’m Honoured To Serve).

The CRAiEDL STEAM Collective invites you to experience these two artworks while asking yourself how they might challenge your pre-existing understanding of the topics and technologies they interrogate, but also your assumptions about the artificial boundaries that tend to get drawn between art production and technology production.
 

Calibrating Stretched Transparency explores some of the logic, processes, and tools that decision makers use to support their decision-making in large-scale technopolitical climate projects like geoengineering—the (re)engineering of the global climate. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and mapping tools, we highlight some of the biases inherent to these tools which in turn covertly influence the decision makers using them.

Learn more about Calibrating Stretched Transparency by exploring its website here.

I’m Honoured To Serve explores the insidious guise of digital environments made to generate user data in a way to profit from the unsuspecting user. With the permeation of artificial intelligence (AI), we have become complacent in volunteering our labour or personal data in exchange for free tools and functionality.  Through this multi-media installation, we attempt to make visible the implicit conventions that are imposed on users and the level of design involved in seducing the user in giving out unpaid labor and data.

Learn more about I’m Honoured To Serve by exploring this project’s website here


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Profile picture for user Chantal Rodier
Chantal Rodier

Chantal Rodier is the STEAM Project Coordinator and Artist-in -Residence at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Ottawa in Canada. She teaches courses on STEAM design, visual literacy, creativity, and innovation, that bring students from Arts and STEM together in project-based learning environments.

With formal training in mathematics, computer science, visual arts, and arts management, she has been incorporating art, human experience, and technology all along her career. More recently, she brings STEAM approaches to her roles as research fellow and adjunct curator with Ingenium. Chantal is member-researcher of The Canadian Robotics and AI Ethical Design Lab (CRAiEDL.ca), and founding member of the Human Centred Innovation Lab (HCIL) at the University of Ottawa.