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Oliver Walker
Oliver Walker

Power Image 2021

LPIRC is only the beginning of a long journey toward highly intelligent machines with extremely low power consumption. Detecting objects in images is the first step in understanding the meaning of visual data. LPIRC will retire in 2019 and be replaced with a new, much more challenging competition for low-power computer vision. Intelligent machines need to understand action, intention, emotion and implication in images or videos. Processors optimized for machine learning have been introduced by several vendors recently and these new systems may appear in future competitions. Significant efforts would be needed to create training and testing data. Meanwhile, the energy consumption must be reduced by 99.9999% before these intelligent machines can run perpetually using ambient energy. IEEE sets the goal of creating new benchmarks for computers in 2040. We have 20 more years to work towards this.

Power image

Your book includes dozens of images, spanning from portraits of Martha Washington to photographs of suffragettes in the 1910s. How did you go about choosing which images to include (or exclude)?

Selecting the images for the book was tough! I chose pictures that many Americans saw to demonstrate how common these ideas about gender and politics were. The Library of Congress is an incredible resource because many of their images are digitized and freely available for scholarly publications.

The most difficult part of interpreting historical images is understanding their original context. I regularly tell my students to put their nineteenth-century glasses on! Often, when I show my students a cartoon that mocked suffragists by portraying them as political leaders, they think they are looking at a feminist image. However, once they learn more about the past, they recognize the clues that tell us that the artist wanted their original audience to laugh at these women.

I learned from my first book just how much historical images laid the foundations for the modern ones that we constantly encounter on social media, news sites, and numerous other platforms. My next book reveals how historical pictures shaped recent viral images that reinforce (and challenge) our current ideas about gender and politics.

But we do not need to look for exceptional circumstances to find images having political power. Images of migrants have been used to promote anti-immigration stances; images of homeless veterans are used to counter government policies to house refugees; images of stranded polar bears are used to promote environmental policies.

But the ease with which images can be adjusted and skewed for a specific political purpose, like slowing down a video to make a politician appear drunk, makes the persuasive power of visual evidence highly dangerous.

Such processes are not isolated to campaigns of course. Political leaders use visual communication to shape their public image, and subtle differences in visual representation can have significant effects on their public perceptions.

President Donald Trump constantly uses images on social media to create an impression of a certain kind of success, power, and leadership. He also appears to be ever mindful of the image he portrays, putting great effort into his stance and gestures, and displays of presidential power.

Amateur activists too have learned to harness the power of visual communication. Images denoting solidarity and collective action have been used by campaigns like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo to show how social media, and its potential for the co-creation of compelling visual montages, permits new forms of public political expression.

The Low-Power Image Recognition Challenge (LPIRC, ) is an annual competition started in2015. The competition identifies the best technologies that can classify anddetect objects in images efficiently (short execution time and low energyconsumption) and accurately (high precision). Over the four years, the winners'scores have improved more than 24 times. As computer vision is widely used inmany battery-powered systems (such as drones and mobile phones), the need forlow-power computer vision will become increasingly important. This papersummarizes LPIRC 2018 by describing the three different tracks and the winners'solutions.

"Computer Vision algorithm can be used to analyze an image and output tags based on the objects, living beings, and actions identified in the image. Tagging is not limited to the main subject, such as a person in the foreground, but also includes the setting (indoor or outdoor), furniture, tools, plants, animals, accessories, gadgets, and so on."

We will use the AI Vision Insights available in Power BI to analyze an image to identify the objects within the image, and then we can perform Power BI analytics (filters, grouping, ..) on the extracted tag values.

In the next few steps, we will create a blank query then we will use a list of numbers as the page numbers and then invoke the function for each page number. The function will retrieve the image URLs from each gallery page.

More and more scholars have started to examine the power of images in global politics. Over the past six years I have had the privilege of working with 51 of them. The result of our collaboration is a volume on Visual Global Politics that has come out in March 2018. We address a broad range of political themes, from colonialism, diplomacy and peace to rape, religion and protest. Visual themes are just as broad and include not only two dimensional images, as highlighted above, but also three-dimensional visual artefacts and performances, such as border installations, churches, national monuments and parades.

It has become common to speak of a visual turn in the study of global politics: the recognition that images and visual artefacts play an increasingly crucial role in depicting and shaping the world we live in.

Our understanding of terrorism, for instance, is inevitably intertwined with how images dramatically represent the events in question, how these images circulate world-wide, and how politicians and the public respond to these visual impressions. Take the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. There is no way to understand the origin, nature and impact of the event without understanding the role of images. The attack was designed for visual impact. Images circulated instantly around the globe, giving audiences a sense of how shocking and terrible the event was. Many of these emotional images not only shaped subsequent public debates and policy responses, including the war on terror, but also remain engrained in our collective consciousness.

Images are, of course, not new, nor have they replaced words as the main means of communication. Images and visual artefacts have been around from the beginning of time. The visual has always been part of life. Images were produced not only to capture key aspects of human existence, but also to communicate these aspects to others. Examples range from prehistoric cave paintings that document hunting practices to Renaissance works of art. Some of these images and cultural artefacts we still see today and they continue to influence our perception and understanding of the world.

But no matter how diverse and complex visual images and artefacts are, they all have one thing in common: they work differently than words. That is their very nature. They are non-verbal and often ambiguous and infused with emotions. This is also the key challenge we observers and scholars face: how to translate the politics of images into words while doing justice to the unique nature and political significance of visuality.

Similar political processes are at play when it comes to our individual and collective efforts of understanding images. Photographs do not make sense by themselves. They need to be seen and interpreted. They gain meaning in relation to other images and the personal and societal assumptions and norms that surround us. Our viewing experience is thus intertwined not only with previous experiences, such as our memory of other photographs we have seen in the past, but also with the values and visual traditions that are accepted as common sense by established societal norms. There are inevitably power relationships involved in this nexus between visuality, society, and politics.

Understanding the aesthetic and political dynamics associated with visuality is, of course, far too complex to be summarized in a few simple propositions. I would thus like to draw attention to just one important aspect: images and visual artefacts do not only represent the world but also, and in doing so, influence the associated political dynamics.

Images and visual artefacts do things. They are political forces in themselves. They often shape politics as much as they depict it. Early modern cartographic techniques played a key role in legitimising the emergence of territorial states. Hollywood films provide us with well-rehearsed and deeply entrenched models of heroes and villains to the point that they shape societal values. A terrorist suicide bombing is designed to kill people with a maximum visual impact: images of the event are meant to go around the world and spread fear.

Images and visual artefacts are neither progressive nor regressive. They can entrench existing power relations or they can uproot them. There are plenty of examples of how visuality served existing political forces and structures. The paradigmatic here is Leni Riefenstahl. Her stunning films of Nazi rallies, such as Triumph of the Will or Olympia, helped the Nazi regime turn mere propaganda into a broader mythology that was instrumental in gaining popular support for a racist and militaristic state apparatus. Socialist realist art, likewise, played a key role in glorifying and legitimizing authoritarian Communist practices in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.

Consider how the global North, influenced by liberal-western values, visually depicts the rest of the world. Television and photographic portrayals of celebrity engagement with famine, for instance, tend to revolve around a patronising and view of Africa, depicted as a generic place of destitution, where innocent and powerless victims are in need of western help. Or so consider how a variety of seemingly mundane visual performances, from hairstyles to body movements, signal and normalise gendered systems of exclusion. 041b061a72


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