Reading 2: Amplifying The Uncanny

The reading begins with explaining that in recent years, machine learning systems grew excellent at producing images, with major focus on creating human faces that seem very real, resulting in possible controversies with technology such as deepfake.

Deepfake is a technology of generating faces by referring to existing images, to create brand new faces which cannot be found through image searches due to them being unique, which leads to the reading further explaining machine learning where the machine finetunes information to develop better or more realistic images. In which leads to the concept of the uncanny valley, which explains how the closer something resembles human, the more welcome it would be, except for particular range of resemblance which seems creepy.

While uncanniness is usually avoided, the reading explores pushing uncanniness to the limit, exaggerating certain facial features to make them look unpleasant, even pushing further to extending to a group of people. The takeaway I find from the reading is that while machines can extend a process, it does not know the limits and can push beyond what we find desirable, for better or for worse.

What does this mean for us? It’s the human’s physical touch and control that adjusts generative art to something that is useful for our purposes. A system that runs without control is likely to create a disaster, so from an artist’s point of view, we need to learn what the limits should be and how to control them to reach a parallel with uncanniness.

One Reply to “Reading 2: Amplifying The Uncanny”

  1. In addition to your concluding observation, the uncanny or various types of eeriness [which are often associated with the outcomes of the AI systems based on Deep Learning (statistical approach)] are not the exclusive aims or intentions of (generative) art. So the AI techniques can be employed in a generative art project for other experiential values.

    Also, the importance of limitations, calibration, tuning, steering or other forms of control/restrictions imposed by human creators to generative systems is applicable generally: by appreciating the fact that there is no such thing as “restricted creativity” but rather that creativity thrives on restrictions, as all successful artworks demonstrate.

    This is pertinent to your work in both Generative Art and your FYP.

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