Collective Vision of Synthetic Reality | workshop

January 30 2020, 14:00 @ Flowers by Bornay, Barcelona, Spain (w/Pavol Rusnak)

We’re coming to Barcelona to be part of the CtrlZ.AI with our super fast brisk workshop “Collective Vision of Synthetic Reality”. CtrlZ.AI is a zine fair focused on technology and artificial intelligence (AI). It’s a creative intervention for those who are critical of AI and what these new technologies have to offer us. CtrlZ.AI will be held as an off-site event alongside the 2020 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT*), an interdisciplinary conference focused on understanding and mitigating the harms of data-driven algorithmic systems. The CtrlZ.AI workshops are part of the FAT* CRAFT sessions. CRAFT aims to take a more holistic approach to issues of fairness in sociotechnical systems.

This will be a speculative workshop starting with a short lecture on synthetic media and currently available AI-driven generative tools, following with super-fast brainstorming rounds and rapid prototyping.


In the context of the latest developments in deep learning and neural networks, we are witnessing a fast expansion of AI-generated synthetic media circulating the Internet, including random fake information such as deepfakes and other purposely altered visuals. The quality of artificially synthesised media is rapidly growing, which makes it harder to evaluate the authenticity of portrayed information, its origin and trustworthiness. The media focus on producing click-bait articles covering deepfakes dystopian scenarios with tremendous consequences on politics and privacy. The fear these articles generates makes people feel powerless and breaks the trust in any information spreading online. As a society, we find ourselves in a very paradoxical situation when the credibility of data we produce rapidly devalues and the information revolution shifts to an era of visual scepticism and general disinformation.

Concerned about the disastrous aftermath of such dystopia, we propose a remedy in the form of a brisk brainstorming game. This game will put responsibility for the future in the hands of participants and force them to make fast choices based on their subconscious beliefs. By playing this game, they will immediately get familiar with the new AI-driven tools, understand the way they work and actually get their hands dirty. By engaging in the process of media synthesis, the participants will become active players of synthetic reality.

During this racing-fast workshop, we will collectively brainstorm the future scenarios of synthetic media in interhuman communication and create rapid prototypes of the actual synthetic information. Under significant time pressure, the participants will have to come up with speculative scenarios – good and bad – and choose the most suitable ML/AI models (or their combination) to generate the new synthetic reality. We will challenge our moral criteria, expand the imagination and broaden the knowledge about the creative workflows of the tomorrow!

You can register for the workshop here.