May 24, 2024

Sandra Rodriguez: Hacking AI for Artistic Expression

Through her art, Rodriguez aims to shed light on the social biases and impacts of AI, while addressing the fears and unrealistic expectations surrounding it.

In a dimly lit art space in Montreal, Rodriguez’s exhibit features an AI trained on millions of online searches for erotica. The AI generates a mosaic of pornographic videos that eventually blend into abstract shapes, representing the AI’s perception of skin based on current pornographic videos. By creating these images, Rodriguez highlights the biases that exist in mass pornography and challenges societal norms.

Rodriguez has also developed a conversational bot inspired by linguist Noam Chomsky, which engages the public in a virtual world, discussing the secrets of AI and demystifying the technology. She believes it is crucial to create art that addresses future issues and engages the public in conversations about AI.

Described as a “hacker” by Gauthier Gidel, a researcher at Mila, the AI institute of Quebec, Rodriguez takes existing AI tools and reimagines their use to show that unconventional approaches can often yield better results than their original intent. Her innovative projects have garnered attention and recognition at festivals like Sundance and Ars Electronica.

In her upcoming project, Rodriguez plans to combine AI with dance, merging her passion for both disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach allows her to explore new ways of storytelling and challenge the limitations of technology.

Growing up in an immigrant neighborhood in Montreal, Rodriguez was exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking. Her upbringing, combined with her training in documentary cinema, led her to explore emerging digital media and the social impacts of new tech tools. She has spent time teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she focused on immersive media production.

Rodriguez believes that looking at technology from different perspectives helps reveal its flaws. She points out that generative AIs, like Midjourney or Stable Diffusion, which turn text prompts into images, often rely solely on internet content and their own creations. This limited scope can stifle creativity and alternative ways of thinking. Rodriguez also raises concerns about plagiarism, as these systems are based on existing works created by other artists.

With her years of experience and dedication to social justice issues, Rodriguez calls for a pause in the development of AI. She emphasizes the need to address the collection and use of data by AI systems, highlighting the importance of transparency and ethical considerations.

Rodriguez’s work has been recognized for its ability to challenge and question technology’s impact on society. Through her artistic expression and hacking of AI tools, Sandra Rodriguez continues to push boundaries, bringing value and thought-provoking perspectives to the world of art and technology.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it