SEER: Simulative Emotional Expression Robot / Takayuki Todo (JP), Photo:

Understanding AI

What is artificial intelligence? And what do we actually know about human intelligence? How intelligent can artificial intelligence be in comparison? And more importantly: what effects will the advances in this field have on our society?

Artificial intelligence offers plenty of room for speculation about the future. What is certain is that this technology has already changed our everyday life in far-reaching ways and will continue to do so. We have already been supported by algorithms in a wide range of areas such as autonomous driving, security technology, marketing or social media for a long time.

Artificial intelligence is even used to create works of art. But how many of our tasks do we want to outsource to machines? No other development in our time poses such a clear question about how we want to employ our technological means in a societal context.

By starting the content, you agree that data will be transmitted to
Data Protection Declaration

Social transformation due to artificial intelligence is already in full swing. In order to get our bearings with it, we need a basic understanding of this technology. Understanding AI presents the most important technical aspects of artificial intelligence as well as concrete examples of how they are used.

Here visitors can discover how machines and their sensors “perceive” the world in comparison to humans, what machine learning is, or how automatic facial recognition works, among other things. They can also learn about various social and ethical issues such as deep fakes (deceptively genuine-seeming pictures or videos made automatically using neural networks), the effects of using digital methods for profiling, and the hidden side of our everyday electronic devices such as smartphones.

By starting the content, you agree that data will be transmitted to
Data Protection Declaration

New creative applications made possible by artificial intelligence are also on display for visitors to experience. There are no easy answers about how to use artificial intelligence or what its dangers are, but Understanding AI provides a broad basis of information to help us navigate this complex field.


  • Activation Atlas

    Activation Atlas

    Shan Carter, Zan Armstrong, Ludwig Schubert, Ian Johnson, Chris Olah

    The Activation Atlas is a method for representing processes in an artificial neural network during image recognition.

  • Anatomy of an AI

    Anatomy of an AI

    Vladan Joler (RS), Kate Crawford (AU)

    Anatomy of an AI uses the example of Amazon Echo to show the countless components and factors behind the production of artificial intelligence systems.

  • Artificial Senses

    Artificial Senses

    Kim Albrecht (DE)

    In Artificial Senses, the unprocessed sensory data of the machines that surround us is given a live visualization.

  • Chinese AI News Anchor

    Chinese AI News Anchor


    In November 2018 China‘s state news agency, Xinhua, presented its first AI newsreader.

  • Computer Vision Fails

    Computer Vision Fails

    Machine-based image recognition and generation can already produce fantastic results, but machines cannot always handle data perfectly.

  • Donkey Cars

    Donkey Cars

    Autonomous machines: Ars Electronica Center’s self-driving Donkey Cars can maneuver from A to B without human control.

  • Embedding Projector

    Embedding Projector


    The Embedding Projector by TensorFlow shows a visualization of vector spaces.

  • Experimental Security Research of Tesla Autopilot

    Experimental Security Research of Tesla Autopilot

    Tencent Keen Security Lab (CN)

    Can the term “sensory deception” also be applied to computers? Video Experimental

  • EYES


    Lucas Zanotto (IT)

    EYES is series of experiments with kinetic sculptures.

  • face2face


    Matthias Nießner (DE)

    The TUM Visual Computing Lab by Matthias Nießner at the Technical University of Munich is experimenting with a face-transfer software in real time.

  • Forma Fluens

    Forma Fluens

    Mauro Martino

    Forma Fluens (Latin for “flowing form”) shows an overlapping collection of drawings made by over a billion people.

  • GauGAN


    NVIDIA – Taesung Park, Ming-Yu Liu, Ting-Chun Wang, Jun-Yan Zhu

    GauGAN is an application that is able to generate complex landscapes with only a few brushstrokes.

  • Gender Shades

    Gender Shades

    Joy Buolamwini, Timnit Gebru

    Joy Buolamwini and Timnit Gebru investigated into the bias of AI facial recognition programs.

  • Glow


    Diederik P. Kingma, Prafulla Dhariwal; OpenAI

    In this application, certain external features of people can be manipulated using a controller.

  • GPT-2: Sprachfelder

    GPT-2: Sprachfelder

    GPT-2 is a machine learning model that has been trained to complete English-language texts on its own.

  • Hands on AI

    Hands on AI

    Advances in artificial intelligence are shaping our everyday lives in many ways. At this point, you will have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with current applications.

  • How Animals and People See the World Differently

    How Animals and People See the World Differently

    National Geographic

    The video by National Geographic explains how the eye has developed over the course of time, and takes on the question of how animals would be able to see the world.

  • Keypoint Detection

    Keypoint Detection

    Institute for Machine Learning, JKU Linz (AT)

    Experience the performance of deep learning algorithms in a live environment.

  • Learning to See: Gloomy Sunday

    Learning to See: Gloomy Sunday

    Memo Akten (TR)

    Learning to See is an ongoing series of works that use the latest machine learning algorithms to reflect on how we understand the world.

  • Looking through the Eyes of a Tesla Driver Assistant

    Looking through the Eyes of a Tesla Driver Assistant

    greentheonly, DamienXVI

    Two hackers, known as greentheonly and DamienXVI, managed to get hold of a development version of Tesla’s autopilot hardware.

  • MegaPixels


    Adam Harvey (US), Jules LaPlace (US)

    The project aims to provide a critical perspective on machine learning image datasets.

  • Moral Machine

    Moral Machine

    Moral dilemmas presented by street traffic.

  • Neural Network Training

    Neural Network Training

    Ars Electronica Futurelab (AT)

    Train different Neural Networks and see how artificial intelligence behaves based on your input.

  • Nonfacial Portrait

    Nonfacial Portrait

    Shinseungback Kimyonghun (KR)

    Painters were invited and asked to create portrait paintings of a person that would not be recognised by facial recognition software.

  • Obama Deep Fake

    Obama Deep Fake

    Jordan Peele

    Jordan Peele transferred his own facial movements to Obama’s facial characteristics using deep fake technology.

  • pinocchio


    Ars Electronica Futurelab (AT)

    Two industrial robot arms as puppet players. Via an app developed by the research unit “Creative Robotics” at the University of Art and Design Linz, visitors can control the two robotic arms with the smartphone and the puppets attached to them can be moved.

  • Pix2Pix: GANgadse

    Pix2Pix: GANgadse

    Ars Electronica Futurelab (AT)

    With the pix2pix procedure, users can draw free sketches which are then turned into cat pictures by a conditional generative adversarial network (cGAN).

  • PixelPlayer


    Computer Science and AI Lab, Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, MIT (US)

    PixelPlayer is a system that learns to localize the sounds that correspond to individual image regions in videos.

  • Project Alias

    Project Alias

    Bjørn Karmann, Tore Knudsen

    Alias is a teachable “parasite” designed to give users more control over their smart assistants, both in terms of customisation and privacy.

  • Prompt Battle

    Prompt Battle

    Sebastian Schmieg (DE)

    Prompts are clearly formulated instructions or questions that are used to generate specific reactions or responses from an AI program. Visitors can practise their prompting skills at the Prompt Battle Training Station.

  • ShadowGAN


    Ars Electronica Futurelab (AT)

    The ShadowGAN interprets mountains in everything it sees, even the human form.



    Lauren Lee McCarthy (US)

    Visitors are invited to act as a human version of Amazon Alexa.

  • The Brain Dictionary

    The Brain Dictionary

    University of California (US)

    Scientists at the University of California in Berkeley have created an interactive map that shows which brain areas react to hearing different words.

  • The Listening Machine

    The Listening Machine

    Institute of Computational Perception, JKU Linz (AT)

    Can a machine “listen,” and can it “understand” what it listens?

  • This Person Doesn’t Exist

    This Person Doesn’t Exist

    Tero Karras, Samuli Laine, Timo Aila

    These people do not actually exist. They were generated entirely by a machine—a specialized form of Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) called the StyleGAN.

  • Vector Space: Prix Ars Electronica Universe

    Vector Space: Prix Ars Electronica Universe

    Ars Electronica Futurelab (AT)

    All entries for the Prix Ars Electronica, a competition run by Ars Electronica, submitted since the Prix archive was established in 1987 are collected in this network.

  • Visualizing High-Dimensional Space

    Visualizing High-Dimensional Space

    Experiments with Google

    This video from Experiments with Google explains how a multidimensional vector space works in machine learning.

  • Volumetric Data Collector

    Volumetric Data Collector

    Hyun Parke (KR/US), Jinoon Choi (KR), Sookyun Yang (KR)

    Volumetric Data Collector is based on the idea of using a LiDAR sensor— a 3D laser sensor often used in autonomous vehicles—as an expanded sensory organ for the human body.

  • What a Ghost Dreams Of

    What a Ghost Dreams Of

    h.o (INT)

    What a Ghost Dreams Of grapples with a new “ghost” of our time: digital surveillance in our society.