Dienstag, 16. April 2024, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Edward Higgs (Essex UK)

How can history help us understand modern facial AIs?


Moderation: Sigrid Wadauer (Uni Wien)

Seminarraum WISO, (ZG102.28) Hauptgebäude, Stiege 6 ZG
Universitätsring 1, 1. Stock Stiege 6, 1010 Wien


The face has always been used by individuals, businesses, and states to recognise human individuals and to ascribe various characteristics and emotions to them. Today artificial intelligence (AI) systems are being introduced to mimic these human activities, and to make crucial decisions affecting people’s lives based on the measurement of facial movements and geometry. There is concern, however, that such AIs may be biased (especially in terms of race), inaccurate, or are being used inappropriately. The presentation will show how an historical analysis is important for understanding these developments because modern AI research makes direct reference to past discourses, or sits within the context these have created. Past histories can also predispose people to accept the decisions made by AIs as ‘common sense’. In addition, some of the problems of contemporary applications can be brought into focus by examining similar issues in the past.

Edward Higgs ist Professor Emeritus of the School of Philosophical, Historical, and Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Essex. He is mainly interested in British History but with international comparisons. Particular interests include statistical representations of society; social construction of knowledge; state surveillance of the citizen; the impact of communications on state and society; the history of information; and the history of identification.



Maria Stella Chiaruttini, Federico D'Onofrio, Annemarie Steidl


Annemarie Steidl, Michaela Hafner
Institut für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte
Institut für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte