Excavating 'Excavating AI': The Elephant in the Gallery

15 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2021

Date Written: December 24, 2020


Two art exhibitions, “Training Humans” and “Making Faces,” and the accompanying essay “Excavating AI: The politics of images in machine learning training sets” by Kate Crawford and Trevor Paglen, are making a substantial impact on discourse taking place in the social and mass media networks, and some scholarly circles. Critical scrutiny reveals, however, a self-contradictory stance regarding informed consent for the use of facial images, as well as serious flaws in their critique of ML training sets. Our analysis underlines the non-negotiability of informed consent when using human data in artistic and other contexts, and clarifies issues relating to the description of ML training sets.

Keywords: digital ethics, informed consent, training sets, AI, machine learning, affective computing

Suggested Citation

Lyons, Michael, Excavating 'Excavating AI': The Elephant in the Gallery (December 24, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3901640 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3901640

Michael Lyons (Contact Author)

Ritsumeikan University ( email )


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics