Event Recap / November 2023

“Generative AI: Race, Art, and Power” Lecture featuring Şerife Wong

On November 16, Şerife Wong joined the Algorithmic Fairness and Opacity Group (AFOG), the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, and the CITRIS Policy Lab for the final lecture in the Fall Series, “Generative AI: Race, Art, and Power.”

The hype around generative AI has provoked both anxiety and enthusiasm. Artists and other creators are engaged in contentious debate on topics such as copyright, authorship, and the theft of labor. While artists argue if we should or shouldn’t use these tools, other important questions need our attention. What is the power of art? How can this power be affected by AI tools? How is creativity instrumentalized to centralize power? Wong’s performance lecture, “Automating Illusions: Behind the Hype of Generative AI,” took a nuanced look behind the dominant narratives of generative AI to critically examine what interests artists and their art serve.

Şerife Wong is a Turkish-Hawaiian artist working on AI governance. She leads Icarus Salon, an organization that explores politics, culture, and technology through art. Her advocacy work for justice in AI and more active roles for artists in policymaking has been recognized through several awards: a residency fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, a research fellowship at the Berggruen Institute, a Mozilla Creative Award, a residency at the Media Enterprise Design Lab, and she was listed as one of 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics. She serves on the board of directors for Digital Peace Now and is the culture and AI governance lead at the Tech Diplomacy Network. Şerife frequently collaborates with the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University to bridge conceptual art with the social sciences.

As a leader in art and technology, she has served on award committees for Ars Electronica, Burning Man, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Previously, Wong has had solo art exhibits in New York (I-20 Gallery), San Francisco, Vienna, and Mexico City; and exhibited internationally at venues such as Art Basel Miami, Shanghai Art Fair, FIAC Paris, ARCO Madrid, and Art Cologne. Her work uses research and activism as mediums of art to create performances, social sculptures, paintings, videos, happenings, and interactive web-based work. She is currently working on Artificial Life Coach, a comedic performance art piece that uses social media to educate the public on artificial intelligence.