Can AI, DATA and Art be used together for good purposes?
Artivist.AI is a project “envisioned” and created by Yan Bello (in “1st-person”). Be welcome to my Art + DATA + AI + “Act to Change” experimental playground!
Inquiry sparking creativity
The starting spark of this initiative was a recurring question that I have been “chewing” and “brooding” for quite some time. Namely: “Can AI, data and art be used (in combination) to influence change for good purposes?”. Several responses can be immediately considered, from the absolute “yes, of course!” to the dubious one: “well, maybe” or the more ambiguous “it depends”. However, for me this sparking-question ignited an internal dialogue leading to a deeper exploration and ideation exercise, imagining examples of escenarios and good causes for the make the case for an affirmative answer. The resulting “proto-ideas” also contributed to various conversations that, far from providing “definitive conclusions” further fostered my curiosity, interest and ultimately a determination to do something “seriously” or as I like to believe and live by: “act to change!”… Artivist.AI was born!
A journey into 'terra incognita'
Thus, not accepting the first viable answers did not become a resolved final state, but rather the departing point of a “journey” that I decided to undertake myself. Like a visit to a “terra incognita”, my approach is one of playful exploration, observation, experimentation,… Therefore, I initially conceive(d) my Artivist.AI initiative as a “work in progress” (WIP) space to share questions, ideas, findings, experiments and challenges, which I might encounter in this endeavor to create a route to a previously uncharted destination.
‘Uncharted’ territory does not necessarily means totally ‘unknown’. There are numerous examples, projects and resources about data art (data+art), algorithmic or generative art, as well as “art-via-AI” such as the increasingly popular “AI-based” neural style transfers, AI-assisted musical compositions, or recent AI-powered DJ tools, etc. There also are initiatives based on artivism (that is “art+activism”: doing activism through art, and viceversa, doing art with a social/responsibility backbone)… I find many of these experiences very inspiring.
Tolerance for being creative
In this context, I want the scope (and focus) of my Artivist.AI program to be around the opportunities to be found in the overlap of four disciplines: AI + DATA + Artistic Creation + Activism. So, this somewhat explains the call-to-action motto: “Using Art+DATA+AI for good purposes”. In any case, I will not impose any restriction on using other “techniques” or approaches that I consider very useful, such as storytelling, experiential learning, gamification, hybrid project management, among others.
Just a few days of experimentation confirmed me that this is an “abundance-mindset playground” with plenty of opportunities. I can safely claim, there are practically infinite paths, resources and options. So, in order to be “realistically-opportunistic”, I decided to guide my efforts, in a more or less organized manner, with some concrete expectations. I may also call them “motivations”, although considering my extensive experience in creative project management, I would opt to name them “goals”. Below are these project goals in their “initial draft” version. Remembering this is WIP, I try to be tolerant (and happy) with “incompleteness”, “imperfections”,… and with any “missing links” or “white/empty spaces” as they are opportunities – and an invitation – to keep being creative. So, join me in this tour!
My goals for Artivist.AI
From a personal – “transcendental” – point of view, this project should allow me to do “something” good, kind and meaningful that will potentially add value to other people. And especially, “help others to help others” (to help others, and so on…).
The project outcomes will create focus of attention, raise awareness, and promote (call to) actions that influence positive change around significant challenges, issues and problems – through a combined use of Art, Data, Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc. For example, to the get Artivist.AI “moving” and start experimenting… I chose the challenge of fall prevention in adult/elderly population.
By applying “novel” tools to create value with AI and data – for example, through generative art – I hope to offer an alternative appreciation of the value of data (data science) and artificial intelligence. This project should highlight some of the potential value that these disciplines have in generating positive social/human/ecological impact, while maintaining a respectful, responsible and legitimate use of data in hybrid AI + artistic creations.
This project will provide informative-educational resources on each of the problems to be addressed (for example, for raising the awareness and prevention of falls). Specially, several key concepts from Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Robotics, Generative Art, Sonification, and related disciplines will be explained with simple yet powerful and memorable metaphors.
It is likely (I hope!) that this project initiatives will generate interest and opportunities for collaboration as well as synergies with other people, organizations and institutions concerned or (pre-)occupied with topics related to the previous objectives and/or to the addressed challenges. For example, raising awareness of the problem of falls and their prevention. Additional synergies could be created with those who might be interested in applying this hybrid approach (Art + Data + Algorithms + AI + “Actions to Change”) to “attack” important problems and issues with creative multidisciplinary methods.
NOfall.art : Be aware of falls!
(You might think) enough about “theory” and “background”, let’s get into action! In order to “put to work” these ideas and start experimenting, I decided to launch a first Artivist.AI challenge around the global problem of falls, especifically focusing on raising awareness about the importance of falls prevention in adult/elderly population. I name it “NOfall.art” …
I might say I know a bit (or two) about the topic of falls & AI, as I have done previous research and programming/development on Fall Detection Systems (FDS) , using AI methods, models and related techniques. I have also delivered numerous workshops on Artificial Intelligence, using Fall Detection Systems as case studies. In these projects and workshops, I have come accross a diversity of resources and datasets with statistics, demographic and experimental data on falls, such as . I have also perform a detailed state-of-the-art study to learn about the background of this challenge, exploring various previous investigations, applications and related experiences. There are many publications around the world that deal with the major problem of fall prevention from various perspectives. One frequently quoted reference is the WHO (World Health Organization) for its reports, data sheets and other publications on the subject, such as .
NOfall.art will “drink” from these various experiences and sources. To learn more about the ongoing progress of NOfall.art, I invite to explore “The HARD Truth About Falls” and to play with your “memory skills” by trying the “Fall Memory Game“. Or simply, “take a walk” to contemplate the “walls” of the NOfall.art gallery rooms.
What is the infinite made-up of?
Everytime I start a new project – specially “big” ones – I remind myself of a phrase my father used to tell me as a kid: “the infinite is made-up of infinitesimals”. With this meme tattooed in my (natural) neural networks, I appreciate every small steps one need to take to reach higher grounds. If NOfall.art helps you become (more) aware of the importance of falls prevention, this project is already worthy.
However, I cannot avoid dreaming big, and see this first Artivist.AI challenge (NOfall.art) as a tiny step linked to such significant aspirations as the UN’s SDG#3 about “Good health & well-being” as “Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development.” . As the UN’s “Be the Change”  campaign claims “Every little step helps – inform your family, your friends and your community about simple actions they can take in their daily lives.” So, if you want to help taking another step, please share these project with others.
The 'making-of' (WIP)
 Yan Bello (2019). “BIOBOT: A Fall Detection System (FDS) using Artificial Intelligence”. Source: http://www.spaceminds.com/biobot-a-fall-detection-system-fds-using-artificial-intelligence/
 Sucerquia A, López JD, Vargas-Bonilla JF. SisFall: A Fall and Movement Dataset. Sensors (Basel). 2017;17(1):198. Published 2017 Jan 20. doi:10.3390/s17010198. Available on: http://sistemic.udea.edu.co/en/investigacion/proyectos/english-falls/
 World Health Organization (WHO) Fact Sheet on Falls. (January 16th, 2018). Available on: https://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/falls
 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #3: Good health & well-being”. Available on: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/health/
 UN’s “Be The Change” initiative. Available on: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/be-the-change/