Alienating AI imagery worlds
Visualizations are a central element of science communication. But if you look at the visualization of AI, strange to misleading images often appear. If it’s not images of the science fiction killer “Terminator”, AI is often represented by – often white – robots. In press releases or popular science reports, robots who wear headphones and use keyboards or are unnecessarily and inexplicably sexualized are just as omnipresent as bright blue brains. Such visualizations mix reality and (science) fiction and the current state of technology with dystopian horror or utopian dreams.
While such clichés are often ridiculous, they are not harmless. Images that accompany a text direct our attention and influence, both explicitly and implicitly, how we perceive the content of the text. This only adds to the widespread ignorance of what robotics, AI and related technologies actually (cannot) are and (cannot) do.
In dialogue with the audience and with the help of many terrible images, we want to show which patterns there are in the visualization of AI and why they are to be criticized. We want to create awareness that current visualization practice is not only misleading, but also often problematic – and laughing at the worst images in the process.
As part of the AI & We* Convention 2021, Arne Maibaum and Lisa Meinecke from Not My Robots led the Visualization of Artificial Intelligence on 11/27/2021.