Tagged for OEG Connect: Better Images of AI

What’s of interest? Better Images of AI

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Have you noticed that news stories and marketing material about Artificial Intelligence are typically illustrated with clichéd and misleading images ? Humanoid robots, glowing brains, outstretched robot hands, blue backgrounds, and the Terminator.

These stereotypes are not just overworked, they can be surprisingly unhelpful. Images representing AI as sentient robots mask the accountability of the humans actually developing the technology, and can suggest the presence of robots where there are none.

However, finding alternatives can be difficult! That’s why we, a non-profit collaboration, are researching, creating, curating and providing Better Images of AI.

Not only are all images in this gallery Creative Commons licensed, each includes a background explanation of imagery plus cut and paste attribution.

Where is it?: https://betterimagesofai.org/

This is one among many items I will regularly tag in Pinboard as oegconnect, and automatically post tagged as #OEGConnect to Mastodon. Do you know of something else we should share like this? Just reply below and we will check it out.

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A human created and curated collection, all clearly licensed for reuse. Just to provide an example, from the gallery, is Trees by David Man & Tristan Ferne

8 photos of the same tree taken at different times of the year in 2 rows of 4, the last photo is highly pixelated. A pattern of random white blocks run across the image from the left and become aligned on the right.
David Man & Tristan Ferne / Better Images of AI / Trees / Licenced by CC-BY 4.0

You get an explanation for the meaning of the image, not something you typically see in a collection.

This image represents the process of machine learning in object recognition. The trees are training data and the white blocks/pattern which become more aligned indicate progress in the machine’s objectives. The pixelated tree is a reminder that machines do not see like we humans see.

Plus copy/paste text for attribution, and a feature I am liking, suggested alternative text descriptions:

And just because we all do it differently, I might quibble with the HTML attribution, because in the world of TASL, the link goes to the entire collection, not the specific image (I modified that above).

Maybe these are not your ideal images for representing AI, but at least they are not sourced and are clearlt licensed. Do you see any useful/compelling images? What do you think about the premise of our mentail pictures of AI being a bit cliche heavy with robots?

And because I wander around sites, in their blog, I found a fascinating summary of a BBC project where they asked kids to draw their pictures what they think AI looks like:

At the end of the day, we were left with a wall containing over one hundred creative images of AI. I was also left with two conclusions. Firstly, people’s images of AI are shaped heavily by how AI has been explained to them. If the explanation contains certain tropes, so will their understanding of what AI looks like.

Secondly, asking children, families, and other non-technical people the simple question of “what do you think AI looks like?” showed how curious the public really are about AI. The imaginative responses to this question provide fresh inspiration of what to do — and what not to do — when creating images of AI.