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Dr. Emily Spratt to teach course on Visual Culture, Diplomacy, and Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Emily Spratt

Dr. Emily Spratt joined IWP as a Visiting Professor this fall, and she will teach a new course on Visual Culture, Diplomacy, and Artificial Intelligence (IWP 713).

This course addresses the intersection of visual culture, diplomacy, and artificial intelligence. It is designed to give students an introduction to the unexpected convergences in academia, industry, and government that have been fostered by the latest technologies, especially in computer vision science. The course is designed to familiarize students with the range of theories and methodologies that are informing and shaping the policy landscape around technology in data science, art history and visual culture, media studies, government, international relations, and the law.

Building upon traditional approaches to the theory of soft power, especially as they pertain to our visual culture, the course is intended to encourage students to re-examine the meaning of soft power in a technocratic world and to challenge them to consider new approaches to its ever-increasing national and international applications. Overall, the course is intended to bring attention to the latest confluences in traditionally siloed fields of study around AI and to provide students with the background necessary to join the ethical discourse around emerging technology that is impacting national and international policy decisions.

“Emily brings an exciting approach to this cutting-edge issue,” said IWP Dean of Academics Dr. James S. Robbins.

Dr. Spratt’s current research concerns the philosophical, ethical, and legal implications of AI techniques used in the analysis, generation, and curation of digital images, and their transformation of our global visual culture.

At Columbia University, she completed her post-doctorate in the Data Science Institute in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science and the Program in Historic Preservation. She earned her doctorate from Princeton University in Byzantine and Renaissance art history, holds master of arts degrees from Princeton and the University of California, Los Angeles, and has a bachelor of arts degree from Cornell University.

Dr. Spratt brings teaching experience from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Masaryk University, Rutgers University, Princeton, UCLA, and Cornell. She is also a strategic advisor in art and technology, and has executive training from the Harvard Business School.

Outside of academia, she has worked with a variety of international companies, not-for-profit institutions, and governments on projects showcasing the uses of emerging technologies for art, music, and film. One of her most inspirational early-career experiences was the opportunity to have worked with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture on the recognition of Corfu Town, Corfu, Greece, as a UNESCO World Heritage site. More recently, Dr. Spratt was honored to have been the art curator for the Global Forum on AI for Humanity in Paris, which was sponsored by the office of President Emmanuel Macron.

Dr. Spratt has received numerous fellowships, grants, and awards for her research, and her insights on AI, art, and society have been covered by The Washington Post, CBS News, and a host of other media companies.


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