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Leo Impett (Cambridge): 'Computer Vision as Symbolic Form: art history and bias in AI'

This talk will address the specifically visual component of bias in computer vision. We will consider the consequences for the use of computer vision in digital art history, digital art, and society in the ‘age of image-machines’ more generally. Reflecting on the incompleteness and inadequacy of technical solutions for identifying and mitigating bias in computer vision, I will attempt to highlight some fundamental contributions that art history (and art historians) can bring to the table. This opens the door to digital art history projects that, by engaging critically with computer vision, enable new ways of thinking about visual culture as inscribed in pictures and algorithms. 

Leonardo Impett is assistant professor of digital humanities at Cambridge University. He was previously based at Durham University; the Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max Planck Institute for Art History; Villa I Tatti; and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. He has a background in computer vision, and is a PI of the collaborative “AI Forensics” project on bias in computer vision financed by the Volkswagen Stiftung. 

The Work in Progress seminar explores the variety of subjects studied and researched at the Warburg Institute. Papers are given by invited international scholars, research fellows studying at the Institute, and third-year PhD students.