Thousand-mile eyes & ten thousand images: Machine vision in Chinese everyday life
Open lecture with Gabriele de Seta - Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bergen.
China’s pursuit of global leadership in the research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) has been extensively documented. AI is widely discussed in Chinese media, addressed by national policy documents, and implemented in growing numbers of digital platforms and consumer products. Driven by advancements in both optical devices and deep learning models, machine vision is one of the main applications of AI, and a key component through which users interact with automated systems. In China, these systems include digital payments, epidemic control, interactive entertainment, industrial manufacturing and surveillance. As a broad domain of computation bridging AI and optical sensing, machine vision has become increasingly present in Chinese everyday life. Drawing on an ongoing research project, this talk discusses the role of machine vision in Chinese everyday life through three case studies: the circulation of machine vision imaginaries between the tech industry and the public; the emergence of QR codes as infrastructural gateways; and the contested production and regulation of synthetic media.
Bio: Gabriele de Seta is, technically, a sociologist. He holds a PhD from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica in Taipei. Gabriele is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Bergen, where he is part of the ERC-funded project “Machine Vision in Everyday Life”. His research work, grounded on ethnographic engagement across multiple sites, focuses on digital media practices, sociotechnical entanglements and vernacular creativity in the Chinese-speaking world. He is also interested in experimental music, media art, and collaborative intersections between anthropology and creative practice.