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Accepted Contribution:

What the good memory looks like: how computer vision resurfaces your photos (and your past)  
Chrys Vilvang (Concordia University)

Short abstract:

This participatory presentation will explore the efficacy of computer vision as a tool for navigating content in personal photo libraries. Volunteers from the audience will be invited to interact with their personal devices and critically reflect upon the impact of AI in shaping their memories.

Long abstract:

Computer vision is increasingly embedded in the apps and platforms many users employ to store and navigate their personal photo libraries, but does the use of this technology preconfigure our relationship with the past? While AI may purport to solve the growing issues of storage and retrieval associated with abundant digital archives, it also reimagines the agency of the user through the logics of computation. Algorithms trained to identify people, objects, and other types of content in photographs are already remarkably precise, but these capabilities may not be aligned with the subjectivities and nuances through which personal photographs are imbued with meaning. Apple, Google, and Facebook each offer AI enhanced ‘Memories’ features to automatically curate and resurface photographs, yet the algorithmic foundations that underlie these technologies are rarely considered for their role in shaping the actual memories of their users. This research project critically interrogates the premises upon which computer vision algorithms are trained to recognize specific content in personal photo libraries and repackage them in the form of ‘Memories’. Creative technical experiments and visual research methods are explored as ways to assess the possibilities, boundaries, and limitations of computer vision as a technology for mobilizing photographic memories. Attendees will be invited to participate in a series of guided interactions with their personal on-device photo libraries to facilitate a space for critical reflection and dialogue.

Combined Format Open Panel P116
Experiments with computer vision: transforming and re-envisioning visual data
  Session 1 Friday 19 July, 2024, -