Shinseungback Kimyonghun


’Flower’ presents a series of distorted flower images which have still been recognized as “flower” by a computer vision. The project attempts to examine the computer vision and human vision by showing a deformed subject. The technology used for the project is the object recognition system from Google, which is regarded as one of the best computer vision technologies in the world. It annotates an image with a label (or “tag”) and a confidence score. For example, a picture of a daisy may produce a label of “flower: 0.978”, “daisy: 0.965”,“white: 0.93532”, or some other similar annotation. The images in ‘Flower’ have been selected when “flower” is the first in the result label list and its score is higher than “0.9”, which means the computer is quite confident that the distorted images are “flower”. But to humans, the images do not always look like “flower” even if we accept some degree of abstraction. The development of computer vision technology has accelerated rapidly over the past few years, and it now shows human level performance in object recognition (some people claim computers are better already). Some of the twisted flower images shown in ‘Flower’ are hardly seen as “flower” to human eyes. But can we say they are not “flower”? It will become more and more difficult to oppose computer’s opinions as it develops further. This kind of discrepancies in judgement between humans and computers can happen in any areas where computers can play a role (e.g. whether to have a patient get an operation or not). If the judgements can be evaluated, we might just follow the better decision maker regardless if it’s a human or not. But how about the issues that have no definite answers such as ethical and philosophical questions? Are we going to listen to computers if they appear to be smarter or hold on to humanity anyhow?

Cat or Human

Human faces recognized as cat face by a cat face-detection algorithm. Cat faces recognized as human face by a human face-detection algorithm.

Shinseungback Kimyonghun

Shinseungback Kimyonghun is a Seoul based artistic duo consisting of computer engineer Shin Seung Back and artist Kim Yong Hun. Their collaborative practice explores the technology’s impact on humanity.

+ Participation of the duo Shinseungback Kimyonghun is supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea