Riffing on Books and Life – Arts & Sciences Literary Blog by interactive new media author & artist Terry Bailey

29Jun/17

AI Challenges: Image Recognition Patterns

AI Image Pattern Recognition Animation

AI Image Pattern Recognition Animation

Artificial Intelligence and Image Recognition Challenges

Everything's Coming Up Roses!

One of the methods used by image recognition algorithms is to "see" things by noting patterns in an image. This can be very effective, but can also create challenges.

In the tea animation here, watch how the AI software sees the numerous roses in the bouquet, and, making a note of that rose pattern, then assumes there must be other roses in the image - when there are not!

So, the end of the folded napkin becomes a rose. Rose patterns are seen in the blank back wall. And even the lavender bouquet decoration on the tea pot becomes a rose!

While this might make an interesting surrealist work of art, we certainly would not want our autonomous car seeing roses where, in fact, there is a dog, or other vehicle, or fallen tree - or nothing!

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10Dec/15

Trumbo and Hollywood’s Romance With An All Male Mythology

Poster of Movie Trumbo 2015

Poster of Movie Trumbo 2015

It can be difficult for a feminist woman to look back at the sexism and gender inequality of history. It is even more difficult when one observes that history being told through the lens of a sexist and still unequal present. Trumbo throws us back to the days when the movie industry was dominated by men, the good women - like Trumbo's wife Cleo - were mere obedient and martyred sidekicks, and the bad women, like Helen Mirrin's portrayed Hedda Hopper, were shrews.

But times have changed, right? No, not much it seems. As the credits rolled, I read one male credit after another: writer, director, production designer, cinematographer, editor, composer, casting . . . . Yes, in 2015, just as in Trumbo's 1950s, and for most of history since, all the lead people who made this film were men. I found it particularly interesting that even the couple of filmmaking roles often reserved for women (casting and costumes) in this movie were done by men.

It goes deeper. In 2015, as in so many of the movies and plays of US history, the roles for women were still the obedient wife (Cleo) and evil witch (Hedda Hopper). You might ask, "Wasn't it just reflecting history?" As a matter of fact, one critic even referred to this movie as "educational." But, no, this movie did not reflect history, it is a Hollywood male rewrite of history. While Hedda Hopper udoubtedly played a role in the ambushing of Hollywood creatives by the Sen. Eugene McCarthy and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's communist witch hunt of the 1940s-60s, it was a minor role; those who are "educated" by this movie will come away believing that gossip columnist Hopper spearheaded the entire movement. Ultimately Trumbo serves to perpetuate the heroic male, witchy woman and martyred ingenue mythology that our society has managed to make a reality; feminist historians, anthropologists, and sociologists take note.

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