Your eyes and ears on the worlds of art, culture, technology, philosophy - whatever stimulates the mind and excites the imagination. We remind you that 20 years of back issues of eMusings can be found on our archives page.

By now I suspect you have been inundated with articles about AI and its use in academia, real estate listings, company management, etc. Here are a few other articles that you might find enlightening:

The nature of decision-making in warfare is examined in this article from MIT Technology Review. Unlike previous battles in which human decision-making is paramount, increased emphasis is being placed on complex human/machine decisions. Who is responsible for these decisions? Should a machine ever be allowed to participate in kill-or-not-kill instructions, and if so, to what extent? If something goes amiss, who is responsible? (Really? We are talking about killing other humans. How much more amiss could it be?)

A rapid increase is being seen in the use of AI in the field of cardiology. Specifically echocardiography based on AI algorithms is being built in to ultrasound machines. Hopefully this change will afford doctors and radiologists more time to interact with patients and less with extensive reading of data. Additionally it is hoped that algorithms like ChatGPT will translate complex measurements and reports into language that laymen can more easily understand. At the moment, it is felt that human judgement cannot be replicated by any currently available technology, alleviating the fear that humans will no longer be necessary.

The use of AI in architecture is being studied as a platform for human behavior in a world of AI design. Although it is unlikely that an architect will show you our Fantasy House for your dream home, you can at least see what is possible when imagination and AI combine. This article expresses some of the challenges, doubts, and excitement now facing any architect who wants to take on the challenge of AI.

Neuroscientists are using AI to study the brain's electrical activity in order to understand music. Specifically a new study exposed 29 participants to Pink Floyd's 1979 song, "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1". The researchers were looking for speciifc receptors for harmony, rhythm, lyrics and tone in machine learning. The results were published in PLOS Biology. Eventually the scientists hope to use these understandings to help people with brain disorders like aphasia and epilepsy better communicate with the world around them.

A new technique in night vision is said to allow AI to see in complete darkness as though it were full daylight. A team at Purdue University used thermal imaging, physics, and machine learning to develop the new capability. Called HADAR, the new system is able to utilize heat signals to "see the invisible".

Vogue Business is studying the impact of Augmented Reality on how consumers decide what clothes to buy. The study focused on 1,100 consumers of luxury goods, ages 16 - 65, in the UK. to see how they made their decisions. Some luxury brands are already using AI: Dior, for example, is preparing a catalog of products that buyers can see on Snapchat to imagine putting together a complete costume, while Cartier is offering a time-travel Augmented Reality system that will take consumers back to Paris in 1917 when its tank watch was first introduced.

Not unexpectedly, AI language models contain numerous political biases, ranging from far right to far left depending on the model used. New research from several universities, including Carnegie Mellon and XI'an Jiaotong University, suggests, for example, that Open AI's ChatGPT and GPT-4 were the most left-wing libertarian, while Meta's LLaMA was the most right-wing authoritarian.

Researchers from the University of Montana have determined that AI can compete with the top 1% of humans in a test for creativity. The AI model scored brilliantly for fluency (meaning the ability to offer a large volume of ideas), and originality. The AI model also outperformed most college students in the U.S.

Scientists are studying the ability of AI models to understand a joke. The researchers used hundreds of New Yorker cartoon caption contests to examine 3 skills: matching a joke and a cartoon; picking out a winning caption; and understanding why a winning caption was funny. Their results showed that humans far out-performed the machine models. An article explaining the study, called "Do Androids Laugh at Electric Sheep?", was presented in Toronto in July at the annual meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics.

We have now discovered that AI has produced 150 years of photography in under one year, meaning that 150 billion images have been generated from text-to-image algorithms.

In an early test of copyrights and AI generated art, a US judge has ruled that AI generated art is not covered by copyright protection because it "lacks human involvement". Expect to see many more such legal wranglings in the future, although this decision sounds like the initial objections to photography. The ruling also echoes early objections to CAD drawing, fearing that it would do away with artistic skills.

New AI deep-learning protocols have now come up with proteins that embody flexibility, meanning that they can move rather than remaining in one fixed configuration. The new designer proteins are considered a major breakthrough in the ability to respond to the environment rather than being frozen in time.

Engineers have succeeded in using AI and brain implants to create a digital avatar of a woman who suffered a stroke 18 years ago and lost her ability to speak. Now an avatar can imitate her speech sounds and show a small amount of her facial expressions. This is not scifi. This is real.

Now on to other September treats:

Ilana Savdie will delight you with her energetic and brightly-hued paintings. These and more can be seen at the Whitney Museum of American Art in an exhibition titled, "Radical Contractions".

How we see the world is the subject of discussion in an article that asks why it is true that 1 + 1 = 2. At issue is the correspondence between math and physical reality, which has been fascinating humans since the time of the ancient Greeks. An interesting reference is made to the book, "Is God a Mathematician?". The link between arithmetic and biology is examined in bees and expanded to a conclusion called non-dualism, which suggests that the mind and the universe at large are connected.

Daniel Lind-Ramos combines ordinary objects into assemblages that form his unique visual language, bringing their own history into contemporary imaginings. Lind-Ramos see himself as a story-teller, with stories deeply based on his Puerto Rican heritage.

The Metropolitan Museum brings us a history of the Buddha across Asia and its influence on devotional artworks. Offered here is a rare opportunity to learn from and about a number of spiritual philosophies and their reflections in art across continents and times. An additional link takes us to a tour of the exhibition, titled "Tree and Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200BCE - 400 CE".

A 28-year-old Danish designer brings a stunning exhibition to a warehouse show in Copenhagen. Nicklas Skovgaard came across a child's loom in a thrift shop 2 years ago and began making textiles, resulting in his ready-to-wear designs. His presentation includes allowing audiences to watch the garments being put on. His designs are included in venues like Cafe Forgot in New York.

Many of us are familiar with the works of Georgia O'Keeffe. Few of us, however, know about her early works. 120 of these early works on paper were recently shown at the Museum of Modern Art in an exhibit titled, "Georgia O'Keeffe: To See Takes Time". These early works have been described as "spare, evocative, and rhythmic", free of extraneous marks, as if derived directly from the unconscious. O'Keeffe is quoted as saying, "When one begins to wander around in one’s own thoughts and half-thoughts what one sees is often surprising". Many of us can identify with that.

Like many of you, I walk. I exercise. I go to physical therapy. So I should immediately have the balance and strength of Danny MacAskill, right? Wrong.

Diane Arbus's photography has been described as unsettling, her mind that of a genius. At a recent exhibition in Arles, France, her photographs were called "wild, weird, and wonderful". In a career covering 15 years, she both mocked and sympathized with her subjects. She was fascinated by the difference between how others see us and how we see ourselves. There is no question that the startle effect imbues her treatment of her chosen subjects: the impact of these photographs stays with us still.

The World Robot Conference held in China will give you an idea of how the field of robotics is impacting our lives as humans. You can watch robots give a massage, play basketball, and scan the human brain.

For those of you who missed this podcast, we link you to "Corinne Whitaker on pioneering in digital art in "America", produced by Galina Marcus.

Whitaker's "Alerion" is being shown in an exhibit called "UnreaL" at Gallerium Arts in Canada.

Hungarian artist Zsofia Keresztes creates somewhat eerie sculptural forms with styrofoam and fiberglass covered with hand-cut glass tiles. She crosses the boundary between the real and the unreal, making both realms coexist in their own special space.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2023