The role of computer graphics in news reporting and truth telling has a long history, from weathermen to intricate chromkeyed maps of warzones used by news presenters. As computational power continues to increase exponentially, and with new technologies like machine learning, the ability of these graphics to accurately simulate reality is becoming a worrying reality. In August 2017, the Graphics and Imaging Laboratory at Washington University released a video ‘Synthesizing Obama’ which demonstrated the ability to synthesize a life-like rendering of Obama in real time. Over the last few years, several news programs have used video game footage in stories about global wars and one of the most widely circulated images of a drone, used extensively to this day in reporting on covert warfare is itself a rendering. The ability of computers to fake reality convincingly is going to become more and more of a critical problem as hackers, extremist news organisations and politicians seek to control the media narrative through increasingly convincing visuals. This panel will consider and speculate on possible futures for rendered realities and suggest strategies for regulating or countering artificial realities created by computation.
Anna Ridler (UK), EMAP artist in residence at Impakt
Lucy Hardcastle (UK), artist
Sjef van Gaalen (NL), researcher and designer
Luba Elliot (UK), curator and researcher specialising in artificial intelligence and member of the curatorial team of the Impakt Festival 2018.
Moderator: Natalie Kane (UK), curator of the Impakt Festival 2017