Art meets artificial intelligence
Women in AI and Women in Tech jointly hosted the grand opening of The Magic of ARTificial Intelligence on Monday, 27 January. The gala showcased connections between artistic expression and artificial intelligence while highlighting the importance of gender inclusivity in a male-dominated field.
Guests were welcomed into the Council Chambers Hall at the Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam. The atmospheric venue is Amsterdam’s former city hall and has hosted many historic celebrations, including the civil ceremony of Queen Beatrix’s wedding in 1966. The room’s dark wood panelling, soft lighting and artwork set the tone for an inspiring evening that included a series of presentations.
AI and data are creating new masterpieces
Throughout the evening, artists, designers and musicians discussed how AI and data paved the way for new possibilities in their work. Painter Jeroen van der Most shared how many of his works were made with the help of technology, including Garden of Aiden. To create the painting’s extravagant birds, he fed 20,000 images in to a computer, essentially teaching it what the animal is, resulting in a new, never-before-seen species.
Cara Antoine, chairperson of the Executive Advisory Board and president of Women in Tech Netherlands, spoke about several high-profile art projects, including The Next Rembrandt. This 3D-printed painting used facial recognition and data to create a new work in the artist’s signature style 350 years after his death. Antoine described it as an exciting undertaking in which “data is the painter and technology is the brush”.
The gala highlighted the use of technology in the music industry as well. The Amsterdam-based production duo Raw Underground revealed the difference between human and AI-powered DJ production and guests enjoyed a performance by Fruit of the Forest, an experimental duo that repurposes discarded tech equipment. The room lit up during the Smartphone Orchestra, when the crowd transformed into an orchestral ensemble as individual musical notes played on their phones.
Turning unbiased data into art
The event emphasised how neutral, unbiased data can become art with the aid of human consciousness and emotion, and the way diversity fosters creativity across disciplines. This line of thinking also applies to the need for gender-inclusive AI, a cause that Women and AI and Women in Tech are working tirelessly to achieve. In the same way data becomes art when infused with imagination, there is a need to ensure things like algorithms, which are playing an ever greater role in daily life, are used to promote inclusion.
As Eve Logunova, ambassador for Women in AI explains, “Right now, the field has mostly been the domain of white western men. That’s why algorithms suggest white western men when it comes to senior jobs. That’s why police cameras pick out people based on the colour of their skin. That’s why we need to clean the existing data sets and code algorithms that are non-discriminatory.”
There is clearly much work to be done in order to achieve gender balance in the realm of tech and startups, of which 83% of founders in the Netherlands are male. An important next step for Women in AI is the WaiACCELERATE programme, the first full-cycle ethical empowerment and business accelerator aimed at female innovators. Learn more about the programme and how you can support this initiative.
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