Escaping Biases

Wolfgang Ernst concludes the short chapter asigned for today with the sentence: „Instead, digital data banks will allow audio- visual sequences to be systematized according to genuinely signal-parametric notions (mediatic rather than narrative topoi), revealing new insights into their informative qualities and aesthetics.“ (Ernst, p. 29) These ideas remind me strongly of the Linnaean project: to find intrinsic qualities in the object, picture or music piece to fulfill the dream of a „true“ and objective classification system.

But I think the critique of Diana Kamin is very important in this case, that even „under the most machinic of circumstances, the eye of the expert collector is smuggled in, with attendant biases and values“ (Kamin, p.331) due to the curated training sets that are used to enable a machine to “see”. Maybe the underlying question is: Will it ever be possible to escape the biases?

One Reply

  • Thank you, Lena! You and Laura have both highlighted the ways in which human bias seeps into even the most seemingly objective of machinic systems. We see this in Crawford’s work, in Linnaeus’s project. I’d love to talk about this today!

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