More than half of Aussie men report experiencing sexual difficulties

Many men were concerned about climaxing too quickly or lacking interest in sex.Krista MangulsoneOne in two Australian men aged 18 to 55 have experienced sexual difficulty in the past 12 months, accord...

Jennifer Power, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University - avatar Jennifer Power, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University

Sanders, Harris, Biden... can anyone beat Donald Trump to become the next US president?

No sooner had the US midterm elections for Congress concluded than jockeying began for the presidential elections in 2020. Barring either impeachment, which seems unlikely, or a health crisis, Donald ...

Dennis Altman, Professorial Fellow in Human Security, La Trobe University - avatar Dennis Altman, Professorial Fellow in Human Security, La Trobe University

As many Muslims return to mosques today, they will need ongoing support

A worshipper lights candles at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch.AAP/Mick Tsikas, CC BY-SAToday, many Muslims in New Zealand will be returning for Friday prayers. Some might f...

Fatima Junaid, Lecturer, Massey University - avatar Fatima Junaid, Lecturer, Massey University

'It's real to them, so adults should listen': what children want you to know to help them feel safe

Children and young people told us they were often overwhelmed by the risks that surrounded them.from shutterstock.comIn recent months, we have been confronted by events that make the world seem unsafe...

Tim Moore, Associate Professor and  Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia - avatar Tim Moore, Associate Professor and Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia

A brief history of science writing shows the rise of the female voice

Women played a role as both readers and authors in the history of science writing.Shutterstock/Africa StudioThree centuries ago, when modern science was in its infancy, the gender disparity in educati...

Robyn Arianrhod, Adjunct Associate , School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University - avatar Robyn Arianrhod, Adjunct Associate , School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

Cannibalism helps fire ants invade new territory

Fire ant stings can be deadly to people who have an allergic reaction to their venom.Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr, CC BY-SATropical fire ants (Solenopsis geminata), originally from central and South Am...

Pauline Lenancker, PhD student in biology and ecology, James Cook University - avatar Pauline Lenancker, PhD student in biology and ecology, James Cook University

We've let wage exploitation become the default experience of migrant workers

Australia’s Fairwork Commission has so far this year examined more than a dozen cases of wage theft. Those cases involve hundred of workers and millions of dollars in underpayments.And it’...

Joo-Cheong Tham, Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne - avatar Joo-Cheong Tham, Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Jobs but not enough work. How power keeps workers anxious and wages low

The unemployment rate is 4.9%, but the underemployment rate is 8.1%ShutterstockThis is the third in a three-part mini-symposium on Wages, Unemployment and Underemployment presented by The Conversation...

Barbara Pocock, Emeritus Professor University of South Australia, University of South Australia - avatar Barbara Pocock, Emeritus Professor University of South Australia, University of South Australia

What Parkland's experience tells us about the limits of a 'security' response to Christchurch

In the days before the mass shootings in Christchurch I was visiting Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting on Valentine’s Day 2018. I was recording a story about ho...

Amanda Tattersall, Postdoc in urban geography and Research Lead at Sydney Policy Lab. Host of ChangeMakers Podcast., University of Sydney - avatar Amanda Tattersall, Postdoc in urban geography and Research Lead at Sydney Policy Lab. Host of ChangeMakers Podcast., University of Sydney

Friday essay: images of mourning and the power of acknowledging grief

These images of Cherine Fahd's grandfather's funeral were tucked away in a brown paper envelope for decades. As a society, we too often keep grief hidden from view. Author providedBefore her death in...

Cherine Fahd, Director Photography, School of Design, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Cherine Fahd, Director Photography, School of Design, University of Technology Sydney

Local Māori urge government to address long-running dispute over rare cultural heritage landscape

Supporters of the campaign to stop commercial development at Ihumaatao.Qiane Matata-Sipu , CC BY-SAAn escalating crisis at Ihumaatao, near Auckland’s airport, is challenging the commercial devel...

Tim McCreanor, Professor Race Relations, Health and Wellbeing, Massey University - avatar Tim McCreanor, Professor Race Relations, Health and Wellbeing, Massey University

Grattan on Friday: Shorten's not getting ahead of himself, but the tape measure is out

With the election likely to be called in about a fortnight – the weekend after the April 2 budget - behind the scenes Labor is “measuring the curtains” of government.Any sign of hubr...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Will the New Zealand gun law changes prevent future mass shootings?

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a ban on certain military-style weapons.AAP/David AlexanderAs she foreshadowed in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre last Friday, New Ze...

Rick Sarre, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia - avatar Rick Sarre, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia

NSW election: where do the parties stand on brumby culling?

Feral horses have severely damaged the landscape in Kosciuszko National Park.Travelstine, CC BY-SAThe future management of New South Wales’s national parks is one of the issues on the line in Sa...

Don Driscoll, Professor in Terrestrial Ecology, Deakin University - avatar Don Driscoll, Professor in Terrestrial Ecology, Deakin University

Confused about aged care in the home? These 10 charts explain how it works

Home care providers' profits are growing but many older Australians are missing out on quality care.The Conversation / ShutterstockThis week, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety hea...

Fron Jackson-Webb, Deputy Editor/Senior Health + Medicine Editor - avatar Fron Jackson-Webb, Deputy Editor/Senior Health + Medicine Editor

Jobs but not enough work. How power keeps workers anxious and wages low

The unemployment rate is 4.9%, but the underemployment rate is 8.1%ShutterstockThis is the third in a three-part mini-symposium on Wages, Unemployment and Underemployment presented by The Conversation...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

We've let wage exploitation become the default experience of migrant workers

Australia’s Fairwork Commission has so far this year examined more than a dozen cases of wage theft. Those cases involve hundred of workers and millions of dollars in underpayments.And it’...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

A new procedure may preserve fertility in kids with cancer after chemo or radiation

A 12-week-old baby female macaque, named Grady, was born from frozen testicular tissue. Oregon Health and Science University, CC BY-SACancer in children was often a death sentence in decades past, but...

Kyle Orwig, Professor of OB/GYN and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh - avatar Kyle Orwig, Professor of OB/GYN and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

March Madness: With gambling legal in eight states, who really wins?

The odds of more legal betting are good. AP Photo/John LocherMarch means springtime, but also breathless headlines of Cinderellas, busted brackets and buzzer beaters. This year, it’ll also inclu...

John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society, Pennsylvania State University - avatar John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society, Pennsylvania State University

Will more genetically engineered foods be approved under the FDA's new leadership?

Will food laws change as more GM foods are created?Zerbor/Shutterstock.comThe world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug...

Ana Santos Rutschman, Assistant Professor of Law, Saint Louis University - avatar Ana Santos Rutschman, Assistant Professor of Law, Saint Louis University

We need more teachers of color, so why do we use tests that keep them out of the classroom?

Teacher license exams often fail to predict which teachers will be the best, research shows.michaeljung from shutterstock.comStudents of color seldom see teachers who look like them. This is because m...

Emery Petchauer, Associate Professor, Michigan State University - avatar Emery Petchauer, Associate Professor, Michigan State University

Niger has the world's highest birth rate – and that may be a recipe for unrest

While fertility levels have declined rapidly in most parts of the world, many countries in the sub-Saharan African region of the Sahel have seen their reproductive rates go down very slowly, and only ...

John F. May, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University - avatar John F. May, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University

Nuns were secluded to avoid scandals in early Christian monastic communities

Margareta, head of the women's community at Lippoldsberg (in modern-day Germany) clasps hands with an Augustinian monk as he hands her a book.Lippoldsberg Evangeliary. Kassel, Landesbibliothek, MS the...

Alison I. Beach, Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University - avatar Alison I. Beach, Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University

imageFrederic Bazille's Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine (left) and Norman Rockwell's Shuffleton's Barber Shop (right). The computer was able to detect similarities in the composition of both paintings. Yellow circles indicate similar objects, red lines indicate composition, and the blue square represents similar structural elements.Author provided

I was the lead of a team of computer scientists at Rutgers that published a paper this past August titled, “Toward Automated Discovery of Artistic Influence.” In that paper we reported on our research, where we used object recognition techniques to compare paintings and identify similarities between them in color, form, texture and content. The goal was to classify painting styles and determine how artists may have been influenced by their predecessors.

Reactions from art historians, critics, and artists ranged from enthusiastic to dismissive. London’s Daily Telegraph reported on our submission with the somewhat hyperbolic headline: “Could computers put art historians out of work?” Shortly thereafter, Professor Griselda Pollock, an art historian at University of Leeds, was more critical, writing a piece titled, “Computers can find similarities between paintings – but art history is about so much more.”

It’s clear that there’s a fundamental misunderstanding in the art history community about why a computer vision scientist would be interested in exploring resemblances among works of art.

For some background: in our research, we analyzed roughly 1,700 digitized images of paintings by 66 masters from the 15th century to the 20th century.

Our computers noted interesting parallels. For example, Frederic Bazille’s Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine (1870) and Norman Rockwell’s Shuffleton’s Barber Shop (1950) possess strikingly similar compositions.

Using the results, we created a graphic of the 66 artists used in our study – what we called a “map of artists” – a graphic of artists’ names where proximity implies similarity. The computer also hypothesized about artists whose paintings may been influenced by a predecessor, like Degas and Delacroix. In many cases, these hypotheses matched those of art historians.

imageComputer generated ‘map of artists,’ where proximity implies similarity (click to zoom).Author provided

In her article, Professor Pollock explained that art history is not about tracing influences by comparing form, texture, and color – what, she noted, is called “connoisseurial art history,” pioneered in the 19th century by Giovanni Morelli. Professor Pollock went on to (correctly) point out that the discipline of art history has evolved since then: it encompass politics, economics, literature, ideology, theology, philosophy, while embracing the perspectives of contemporary social movements.

Essentially, she was saying that our research was predicated on a definition of art history that’s outdated.

However we didn’t make any claims about what art history is or isn’t. We understand that influences between artists is not just about visual similarity – that, as a discipline, art history requires studying social, personal, ideological, and historical contexts.

Here’s what we find compelling: when people look at paintings, they can make sophisticated inferences beyond simply recognizing a tree, a chair, or the Christ; they can predict which artist likely did the work, note the painting’s style, its genre, and its period. Learning and judging such complex visual concepts is an impressive ability of human perception.

Such ability intrigues researchers in my discipline. It’s our ultimate goal to make a machine that passes the traditional Turing test (when an interrogator is unable to guess which of two players is a machine and which is a human). Of course in the case of paintings we can think of a similar test, which I would call the “visual Turing test.” While passing this test may be a ways off, our results offer an important breakthrough: proof that a machine can learn to discover interesting similarities among paintings that humans can confirm.

Furthermore, Professor Pollock argued that it’s a fallacy to claim that computers can notice things that humans cannot. Computer vision promises – and in fact has proven – that it can overcome human vision’s spectral limitation and quantitative imprecision. In the domain of art, computer vision can offer a level of precise and objective analysis.

It’s true that influence discovery might be based on a century-old view of art history. But when a child is learning to walk, she first crawls before taking her first steps. Later, she runs.

Artificial Intelligence is still in its infancy, especially as it tries to tackle challenges of increasing complexity. If we hope to make a machine understand sophisticated connections between artists, it’s only natural to initially approach the challenge the same way Giovanni Morelli and connoisseurial art historians did a century ago.

The humanities are becoming digitized; paintings, photographs, letters, centuries-old books, volumes of journals and magazines – all are increasingly available online.

And perhaps there will be a day when the technology could evolve to look at the historical, social, and personal context of art – a day when computers could mine these vast stores of heterogeneous data to conduct an analysis of artistic influences that goes beyond the connoisseurial approach.

At that point, it would be up to art historians to figure out how to best utilize these technological advances.

Do we hope to put art historians out of work? Hardly. If anything, I tend to agree with a November 10 Washington Post article headline about our research: “Computer Science Putting Art Analysis on Faster Track,” it reads.

image

Ahmed Elgammal does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Read more http://theconversation.com/computer-science-can-only-help-not-hurt-art-historians-33780