I AI Therefore I Exist

Hi, my name is Jeremy, and I am helping Alan out this week with some activities. But I should introduce myself.

I have been working to launch a blockchain startup called Ideolium that has an exciting new technology of interest to those designing a post pandemic university. We are busy with launch, but I can share a preview of our website.

Click to see full sized version

I hope I can tell you more if we can meet up soon. More about me! I drive a 2020 Iridium FG2. It looks plain, but it handles the roads like a charm.

Not so plain a car!

My partner Nicholas and I are trying to get our rental property going to help us through the lean times of being a startup. If you know someone looking for a great 3 bedroom place in Newtown, send them our way!

Meet Matilda, our kitten! Isn’s she darling? We adopted her 4 months ago.

And finally, I have to share my favorite snack, yes, stand back…

Goat cheese stuffed twinkies are divine!

Okay, this is Alan. It’s probably obvious, but everything above here is fake, and all are media generated by a type of Algorithm known as Generative Adversarial Network (GAN). Learn about it.

These media were generated the following sites, explore them:

These and many more are available for you to explore, see

Brave or Fake New World?

Some things for you to try this week.

(1) How good are you at detecting fake photos?

Take up the Which Face is Real challenge, how many can you identify as real out of 10 tries? What are the elements that help distinguish, if possible, fake from real? What are the implications here?

(2) Can you create a better fake persona, better than my Jeremy?

Can you make them into someone who attends, teaches at, or works at a Post Pandemic University?

(3) How well can you identify a chatbot?

Explore this interactive adventure

(4) Explore the Google Arts and Culture App

We have run this activity before, but it’s an interesting play on algorithms. It seems innocuous and fun at first (as did many Facebook games that collected data). You share a selfie and Google’s Algorithm does some mystery magic to match your face to a museum painting.

The Google Arts & Culture platform hosts millions of artifacts and pieces of art, ranging from prehistory to the contemporary, shared by museums across the world. But the prospect of exploring all that art can be daunting. To make it easier, we dreamt up a fun solution: connect people to art by way of a fundamental artistic pursuit, the search for the self … or, in this case, the selfie.

The idea is you take a selfie with the app, and let their experimental algorithm use facial recognition technology to try and match it to art in the collection.

Fun ? But as savvy digital alchemists who looked at data tracking, hopefully you night be curious about what happens to your face when its image goes to Google? They do say

(By the way, Google doesn’t use your selfie for anything else and only keeps it for the time it takes to search for matches.)

And it does come up before you use the app:

How do we know?

But there’s more to worry about. Many have noticed that the results of the match are much less successful if you don’t have a white face, suggesting there is a racial bias in this app. And it’s more than an art app, facial recognition has much wider uses, and researchers have shown accuracy is much higher if you are whiter.

We will run our own experiments with the app, which you can get for Android devices and for Apple devices.

You should only try this if you feel comfortable with the idea. In our first goa round, I showed how you can try it with existing photos, I did one for my deceased Mom, my dog (no match), and my childhood photo (I got matched to a female).

Here are some results from experimenting today.

Do we have any idea what matches are based on? Where do the percentages come from? And what happens if you are not a white skin man? How representative are the results? What does it say to someone if no matches or in appropriate ones are found?

If you are like me, there will be more questions. But be curious.

More to explore…

This collection of short narratives may inspire you for thinking about AI or creating speculative fiction.

Telling Stories: On Culturally Responsive Artificial Intelligence

What world—what worlds—will we build with artificial intelligence?

Intended for policymakers, technologists, educators and others, this international collection of 19 short stories delves into AI’s cultural impacts with hesitation and wonder. Authors from Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, India, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, the United States, and elsewhere vividly recount the anticipated influences of AI on love, time, justice, identity, language, trust, and knowledge through the power of narrative.

By Prof Alan

An early 90s builder of the web and blogging, Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling, photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He has been a part of NetNarr since 2017.

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