Imagination and Visual Evidence in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
The emergence of images generated by artificial intelligence has intensified the age-old debate about trust and distrust in images. Many in journalism and documentary filmmaking have raised concerns about the dangers of misinformation and social manipulation posed by AI-generated images that look jsut like photographs. In the world of art, AI could challenge notions of authorship and individual creativity, not to mention the legal issues surrounding copyright. The examples of the supposed dangers of AI are countless. Visual deception seems to be, at least potentially, everywhere. How do we relate to and through images in this new visual ecology?
Starting from the significant increase in AI-generated images, in this talk, we will discuss (mis)trust in images in our time and explore the wide range of images we interact with every day: from scientific images of distant galaxies to religious or artistic images, medical images and images of family and friends.
We aim to show that the debate about (mis)trust in images and visual evidence is not new but a central element of our visual experience. We will also demonstrate how, despite the current rhetoric about visual distrust and with all their nuances and paradoxes, images are fundamental to our everyday experience. We live with and through images, and it is largely them that we come to know and transform the world, relate to others, and imagine the future that awaits us.
W. J. T. Mitchell
W. J. T. Mitchell is the author of numerous prize-winning books on images and media theory, including Iconology, Picture Theory, What Do Pictures Want? and Image Science. He is a professor of literature, art history and film at the University of Chicago and Senior Editor of Critical Inquiry, a leading journal of theory and criticism in the humanities. He is currently finishing writing Seeing through Madness, applying the methods of visual studies to both individual and collective forms of insanity. His most recent publications explore machine simulations of mental disorder (including hallucination) in AI.
Roger Canals teaches visual anthropology at the University of Barcelona. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including La imatge que mai no acaba. Un viatge per l’antropologia visual, des del cinema etnogràfic fins a la intel·ligència artificial (Gedisa, 2023). He has made numerous internationally acclaimed films and short films. In 2016 he received an ethnographic film grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation in New York. In 2020 he was awarded an ERC-Consolidator Grant by the European Commission for the project Visual Trust. Reliability, Accountability and Forgery in Scientific, Religious and Social Images. In 2022 he received the ICREA-Acadèmia award from the Catalan Government for his research career.