Anna Ridler offers a bitesize lesson in what machine learning actually is

For her Nicer Tuesdays talk, Anna delved into her ongoing research around tulips and the “tulip mania” that swept much of Europe in the 1630s and her resulting works: Mosaic Virus, Myriad (Tulips) and Bloemenveiling.

17 January 2020


Condensing work as complex as Anna Ridler’s into a ten-minute talk is an unenviable task, but when she joined us for December’s Nicer Tuesdays, she managed to do exactly that.

Anna lives and works in London as an artist, predominantly with training sets and machine learning, which she uses to unveil the human touch, and therefore the human biases, which exist in this hotly discussed area of tech. While conversations such as these are rife (see one of our writers, Daphne Milner’s recent piece outlining some of the artists also working in this area), we’re sure the number of you reading this who can confidently describe what a GAN is or how machine learning works is actually very few.

It was therefore fascinating to hear Anna give such a clear breakdown of these processes and their inherent problems, and explain how photographing 10,000 tulips herself helped her address these problems. As informative as it was creative, we definitely all left having learned something.

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