Keynote Speakers

TONY VEALE

Portrait of TONY VEALE Associate Professor School of Computer Science University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland

Associate Professor
School of Computer Science
University College Dublin (UCD)
Ireland

Tony Veale is an associate professor in the School of Computer Science at University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. He has worked in AI research for three decades, in academia and in industry, wit5h a special emphasis on humour and linguistic creativity. He is the author of the 2012 monograph Exploding the Creativity Myth: The Computational Foundations of Linguistic Creativity (from Bloomsbury), co-author of the 2016 textbook Metaphor: A Computational Perspective (from Morgan Claypool), and co-author of 2018’s Twitterbots: Making Machines That Make Meaning (from MIT Press). He led the European Commission’s coordination action on Computational Creativity (named PROSECCO), and collaborated on international research projects with an emphasis on computational humour and imagination, such as the EC’s What-IF Machine (WHIM) project. Veale currently chairs the ACC, the international association for Computational Creativity. He also runs a web-site dedicated to explaining AI with humour at:  RobotComix.com

Does Not Compute! Does Not Compute!  The Hows and Whys of Giving AIs as Sense of Humour

For much of its history, AI was a scientific discipline defined more by its portrayal in science fiction than by its actual technical achievements. Real AI systems are now catching up to their fictional counterparts, and are as likely to be seen in news headlines as on the big screen. Yet as AI matches or even outperforms people on tasks that were once considered yardsticks of human intelligence, one area of human experience still remains largely unchallenged by technology: our sense of humour. This is not for want of trying, as I will show. The true nature of humour has intrigued scholars for millennia, but AI researchers can now go one step further than philosophers, linguists and psychologists once could: by building computer systems with a sense of humour, capable of appreciating the jokes of human users or even of generating jokes of their own, we can turn academic theories into practical realities that amuse, explain, provoke and delight. This talk will challenge the archetype of the rigidly humourless machine in popular culture, to make a case for the necessity of a truly computational understanding of humour. By giving our machines the ability to understand and generate humour — including sarcasm and irony — we can  better understand ourselves as we construct machines that are more flexible, more understanding, and more willing to laugh at their own limitations.

SHEELAGH CARPENDALE

Portrait of SHEELAGH CARPENDALE, Professor and Canada Research Chair Information Visualization School of Computing Science School of Interactive Arts and Technologies, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Professor, and Canada Research Chair: Information Visualization
School of Computing Science
School of Interactive Arts and Technologies
Simon Fraser University
Canada

Dr. Sheelagh Carpendale  is a full professor and Canada Research Chair: Information Visualization in Computing Science at Simon Fraser University. She has received many top awards including the IEEE Visualization Career Award, an NSERC STEACIE (a Canadian Top Science Award); a BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts – similar to an Oscar in USA), Best Supervision Awards, the Canadian HCI Achievement Award and an Industrial Research Chair with SMART Technologies in Interactive Technologies. She is a Fellow in the Royal Society of Scientists and has been inducted into the both IEEE Visualization Academy and the ACM CHI Academy. Her research focuses on information visualization, interaction design, and qualitative empirical  research. By studying how people interact with information both in work and social settings, she works towards designing more natural, accessible and understandable interactive visual representations of data. She combines information visualization and human-computer interaction with innovative new interaction techniques to better support the everyday practices of people who are viewing, representing, and interacting with information. Her research in information visualization and interaction design draws on her complex background in Computer Science (BSc. and Ph.D Simon Fraser University) and Visual Arts (Sheridan College, School of Design and Emily Carr, College of Art).

Our Data Heritage

Persistently, data has been part of our lives through the ages. Our use of data is nearly always private, often small, but has continually formed a part of how we live our everyday lives. Very often it is stored, saved, and preserved as part of our arts and crafts through the ages. It is important that we do not let the current ‘big data’ revolution with all its emphasis on bigness and power, alienate us from our deep connection with data. It is important that we share the potentially empowering aspects of the use of small, situated, and embedded data. I will discuss this in relation to my continued research towards promoting data comprehension by creating appropriate interactive technologies that can help people negotiate the everyday transformation of data into understanding. Specifically, I will talk about my research into extending the available visual representations, using interaction to expand the potential of existing visualizations, and into broadening the potential of information visualization by investigating engagement with new audiences.  Just as data has in the past, it still has the potential to enrich our daily lives. Let’s not get dis-inherited!

CHRISTOPHER SALTER

Professor, Design + Computation Arts
Faculty of Fine Arts
Concordia University
Tiohtià:ke/Montréal QC
Canada

Chris Salter is since June 1 Professor of Immersive Arts and Director of the Immersive Arts Space at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Before this he spent eighteen years as Professor of Design and Computation Arts and University Research Chair in New Media, Technology and the Senses at Concordia University in Montreal where he was also Co-Director of the Hexagram network and co-founder and associate director of the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology, also at Concordia. He studied philosophy, economics, theatre and computer music at Emory and Stanford Universities.

Salter’s artistic work and scholarly research lies at the nexus of the technology-based arts, social studies of science and technology (STS), sensory anthropology and media and performance studies. His immersive and physically experiential works are informed by theater, architecture, visual art, computer music, perceptual psychology, cultural theory and engineering, and are developed in collaboration with anthropologists, historians, philosophers, engineers, artists and designers. These projects have been exhibited in over a dozen countries at such exhibitions and festivals as the Venice Architecture Biennale, Barbican Centre, Berliner Festspiele, Wiener Festwochen, ZKM, Vitra Design Museum, Musée d’art Contemporain Montreal, National Art Museum of China, EXIT Festival (Paris-Creteil) and Place des Arts-Montreal, among many others. He is the author of numerous essays and three books, all published by the MIT Press including Entangled: Technology and the Transformation of Performance (2010), Alien Agency: Experimental Encounters with Art in the Making (2015) and the just released Sensing Machines: How Sensors Shape our Everyday Life

Art in the Age of Immersion: Sensing, Bodies and the Responsive Environment

In 1968, the Polish born curator Jascia Reichardt opened a landmark exhibition at the ICA in London entitled Cybernetic Serendipty in which all manner of sensor-augmented devices, objects and sculptures stood ready to usher art into a new technological age. Remarkably, while ever more complex sensors, algorithms and devices have steadily increased in the 54 years since Reichardt’s show, essentially the same goal has remained: using artificial sensing as an integral part of an artwork in order for the work to “make sense” about its “world” and respond to it. This phenomenon, what artist and theorist Simon Penny calls the “aesthetics of behavior,” perfectly aligns with the long sought-after imaginaries of artists, designers and technologists to create seamless computational links between our bodies and the larger environment and thus, reorganize the human senses in order for them to act as input for such works.

But if the history and practices of “immersion” in the arts has long focused on the senses being transformed through melding them with technologies embedded into the actual physical world, the next wave of immersion seeks the opposite: to capture the senses in order to render a synthetic world that is “realer” than the physical one. In the words of computer graphics pioneer Ivan Sutherland from 1965, the new “ultimate display” (a harbinger of later VR/AR head mounted devices), would need to “serve as many senses as possible.”[i] Thus, contrary to the idea that the senses are simply to be replaced by the prosthetics of artificial sensors, a different story seems to be emerging. Our senses are needed to drive and feed ever-new immersive experiences by being increasingly “coupled” or linked to the simulated. This talk will careen through TeamLab’s immersive environments installed in the landfill islands of Tokyo, through the visions of artists in the 1960s to create new kinds of “reactive environments” and our now just emerging “metaverse” age of Extended Reality in order to give a critical historical and socio-technical picture of our present and future visions of art in the age of immersion.

[i] Sutherland, Ivan E. 1965. “The Ultimate Display.” Proceedings of IFIP Congress. 506-508.