[ISEA2023] Paper: Sophia Brueckner — White Cube / Black Box: Investigating Bias in Museums and Algorithms


Full Paper.Theme Museums – Curation Subtheme Symbiotic Organizations

White Cube / Black Box seeks to identify bias and the many ways bias gets introduced into and amplified within systems. A highly interdisciplinary team of data scientists, curators, designers, and artists used face detection and race classification algorithms to explore bias in algorithms and the University Art Museum’s collection of artworks.

  • Sophia Brueckner (US) is a futurist artist/engineer who researches how technology shapes us. Inseparable from computers since the age of two, she believes she is a cyborg. As a software engineer at Google, she designed and built products used by tens of millions. At RISD and the MIT Media Lab, she researched the simultaneously empowering and controlling aspects of technology with a focus on haptic and social interfaces. Since 2011, Brueckner has taught Sci-Fi Prototyping, a course combining science fiction, extrapolative thinking, building prototypes, and technology ethics. The class and the students’ projects received international recognition and were featured by The Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, Wired, NPR, Scientific American, Fast Company, and many others. Brueckner’s work has been featured by Artforum, SIGGRAPH, the Peabody Essex Museum, Leonardo, Eyeo, ISEA, and more. She was an artist-in-residence at Autodesk Pier 9 and Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T. She is currently an associate professor at the Stamps School of Art and Design and co-director of the Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing (ESC) at the University of Michigan. Her ongoing objective is to combine her background in design and engineering with the perspective of an artist to inspire a more positive future. https://www.sophiabrueckner.com