The AI + Society Initiative at the University of Ottawa is delighted to announce the launch by researchers at CRAiEDL of Calibrating Stretched Transparency, a multidisciplinary project aiming to explore and disseminate the intersection of geoengineering and AI, while also critiquing its ethical implications through a visual medium.
Led by Dr. Jason Millar, Canada Research Chair in the Ethical Engineering of Robotics and AI, and Chantal Rodier, Artist in Residence at the Faculty of Engineering, Calibrating Stretched Transparency explores some of the logic, processes, and tools that those in power will use to support decision making in large-scale technopolitical climate projects like geoengineering—the (re)engineering of the global climate. The team also included artists and Scotiabank Fellows Sarah Jasmine Hodgson and Willem Deisinger.
Two typical decision support tools were used to create this work—artificial intelligence (AI) and maps–both of which are historically tools of privilege and power. The AI tool was fed ethical concepts, contradictions, and images of landscapes. It generated images of a world it “believes” best represent our seemingly incomprehensible inputs. In this sense, the AI tool offers its perspective on the ethical prompts related to geoengineering. The AI’s perspective was then “mapped”.
Calibrating Stretched Transparency offers a conversation between the perspectives and power of certain tools used in geoengineering and those of the people who wield them. Within such technopolitical contexts as geoengineering, how might decision makers encounter and react to the biases embedded in their tools, when some biases will threaten to undermine existing power structures, others to amplify them?
The project launched on November 9, during the UN’s Climate Change Conference, COP26. The installation will be worked on over the next year and maybe beyond. Their plan is for this installation to keep living digitally and to find a physical location to continue to engage the public in discussions about the technologies associated with geoengineering and climate change.
This project was made possible thanks to the support of the Scotiabank Fund for the AI + Society Initiative at the University of Ottawa, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Canada Research Chairs program.