Unfolding Intelligence

“Unfolding Intelligence: The Art and Science of Contemporary Computation” is third in a series of MIT CAST symposia that bring together artists, scientists, engineers, and humanists from a variety of disciplines to address topics of common concern in areas of rapidly evolving research and urgent social relevance.

This virtual gathering has been organized by a team of colleagues from the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality, the MIT Transmedia Storytelling Initiative, and the MIT Trope Tank. Online exhibitions feature The Invisible College, a multi-platform artwork developed by CAST Visiting Artist Matthew Ritchie, and an online exhibition of generative software artworks, curated by Nick Montfort. The List Visual Arts Center presents the related event, the Wasserman Forum.

SCHEDULE

• Thursday, April 1 / 5-7pm // Generative Unfoldings Opening Reception
• Friday, April 2 / 9am // Deep Time & Intelligence and Unfolding Models Video Presentation Release
• Monday, April 5 / 11am-12pm // Deep Time & Intelligence Livestream Q&A
• Monday, April 5 / 5-6pm // Unfolding Models Livestream Q&A
• Wednesday, April 7 / 11am-1pm // Bias in AI Livestream Presentations and Q&A
• Thursday, April 8 / 11am-12pm // Open Systems Part One, Livestream Presentations and Q&A
• Thursday, April 8 / 5-7pm // Open Systems Part Two, Livestream Presentations and Q&A
• Friday, April 9 / 11am-1pm // Breakout Rooms – Meet the Speakers

Deep Time & Intelligence
Video Release: Friday, April 2, 2021 / 9:00am EST
Live Q&A: Monday, April 5, 2021 / 11:00am–12:00pm EST / Livestreamed above

How has computation shaped the concept of intelligence? What models for the unfolding in time of thought does it provide? This panel takes up the question of intelligence by addressing time scales from that of the infant to that of evolution. Temporal forms, like recursion, also structure training protocols used in computational models of thinking and sensing. From a composer musician who sees the training of AI as a novel ritual form to a musicologist of paleolithic sonic intelligence and a computer scientist’s account of multi-modal sensory training inputs, this panel resituates AI within the long durée of thinking and microbursts of ingenuity called training or learning.

Panelists:

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Unfolding Models
Video Release: Friday, April 2, 2021 / 9:00am EST
Live Q&A: Monday, April 5, 2021 / 5:00–6:00pm EST /

How do tools in computation shape the models that scientists, artists, and engineers make of the world and universe? From simulations of cosmic evolution to models of the unfolding of epidemics, computer and AI-aided work sees practitioners unfolding the possibilities of digital calculation and representation.
In play are ways of animating theories, translating abstractions into code, and working, often collaboratively and cross-disciplinarily, across scales of structure and degrees of data resolution in order to fashion models that can force new thinking or intervention into the realms—physical, biological, social, and political—that such models represent.

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Bias in AI
Live Presentation and Q&A: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 / 11:00am–1:00pm EST /

It is now well known that AI systems can encode many forms of bias, including those that serve social oppression.
It’s imperative for system designers to consider the impacts of such unfair biases and for users to be critically aware of them. This panel takes up this challenge through an interdisciplinary dialogue to imagine how we can design AI systems to ensure not only ethically sound systems, but systems that serve the needs of human empowerment.

PANELISTS:

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Open Systems
Part 1: Thursday, April 8, 2021 / 11:00am–12:00pm EST /
Part 2: Thursday, April 8, 2021 / 5:00–7:00pm EST /

Creative artists and scientists are already engaging ways to bring Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) together with machine learning in meaningful ways. Speakers in “Open Systems” look at alternative approaches to modeling planetary systems, often with AI but often with other computational maneuvers that might exchange singularity for intuition or reciprocity. Open systems are those concerned with how A.I. is only part of how we understand planet Earth, refocusing on various kinds of permeability: looking to the politics of indigenous epistemologies as they have shaped multiple generations of new media art; to artistic interrogations of asemic writing generated by AI trained on the form and motion of primordial organisms; and to the art and science of more-than-human intelligences. From recalcitrant microbial and computational poetry to ghost-colored extraterrestrials, the systems of are always more than humans and their machines.

PANELISTS:

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Breakout Rooms
Live Interactive Event: Friday, April 9, 2021 / 11:00am–1:00pm EST
Join us for the final session of “Unfolding Intelligence” to explore hidden threads between the presentations, exhibitions, and panel discussions that occurred during the week. Attendees will have the opportunity to join symposium speakers and artists in breakout rooms that are thematically oriented based on public discussions on social media. Follow @artsatmit and tag your questions and comments using #mitcast throughout the symposium to be part of the conversation.

PARALLEL PROGRAMMING
The Max Wasserman Forum/Presented by the MIT List Visual Arts Center.
Videos Available: Tuesday, April 6, 2021/ Live: April 10, 2021 / 3:00–5:00pm EST /
Register via the List Visual Arts Center

The 2021 Max Wasserman Forum, entitled Another World, brings together artists, educators, and writers at the forefront of discourse on art in the digital realm to share their deep understandings and perspectives on digital media’s potential for more radical, imaginative, and limitless expressions.
Two pre-recorded online panel discussions, What are we Building? and What are the Barriers?, address questions such as: How do digital platforms affect art and create new possibilities of what art and artists can do? What strategies are employed by artists to bridge speculative ideas and in real life encounters? What are the extended or alternative experiences provided by artists that affect human consciousness?
The Forum culminates with a live streamed closing address by Berlin-based filmmaker, visual artist Hito Steyerl.

Panel 1: What are we Building?
Panelists: Salome Asega | Rindon Johnson  | Lawrence Lek
Moderator: Eunsong Kim

Panel 2: What are the Barriers?
Panelists: American Artist | Lauren Lee McCarthy
Moderator: Gloria Sutton

Organizer of Unfolding Intelligence: The Art and Science of Contemporary Computation

please register for the event on eventbrite

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