23 July 2020
We've always been interested in artificial intelligence here at MOTHandRUST. We've posted about AI exhibitions we've been to. When the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines based at MIT asked us to partner with them for a rebrand, we were thrilled (a crop of an early presentation seen above).In the studio (via Skype), we've been chatting about AI on and off quite a bit throughout lockdown, as multiple AI-powered projects are being used to predict, explain and manage the different scenarios caused by the health crisis.According to Wired, a 2019 study covering 19 countries’ artificial intelligence health care markets estimated a 41.7 percent compound annual growth rate, from $1.3 billion in 2018 to $13 billion in 2025!Below are some key thoughts brought up in our casual conversations...An early fascinating example of AI's role in spotting an outbreak:In the New Year’s Eve of last year, the artificial intelligence platform BlueDot picked up an anomaly: a cluster of unusual pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. BlueDot, based in Toronto, Canada, uses natural language processing and machine learning to track, locate, and report on infectious disease spread. It sends out its alerts to a variety of clients, including health care, government, business, and public health bodies. It had spotted what would come to be known as Covid-19, nine days before the World Health Organisation released its statement alerting people to the emergence of a novel coronavirus.
AI has already had many roles in the global fight against the coronavirus, as well as in healthcare in general. For example, it's well known that developing a treatment is costly. Very costly. A huge part of this cost is eaten up by the money and time spent on unsuccessful trials. But with AI, scientists can use machine learning to model thousands of variables and how their compounded effect may influence the responses of human cells. Beyond diagnosis and treatment, AI has the potential to make getting appointments, paying insurance bills, and making other medical systems and procedures more efficient and cost effective. The list of potential roles AI can play goes on and on.Data, data, data:A big reason for AI not being able to do even more is that we simply did not have the data to deliver the solutions. There are so many issues around data that need to be addressed: our health care systems generally don't give up information easily to train AI systems, there are the privacy regulations, the error-filled health databases, and the data gathered being organised it in a way that's not useful for machines and so on.A fascinating fact: the amount of medical data in the world now is estimated to double every couple of months or so.As we sort out all the issues around data, AI lags a step behind us. Yet we still imagine that it possesses more foresight than we do... However, we believe that next time round, things will be better.
1 July 2020
Tributes have poured in for Milton Glaser, who has died in New York on his 91st birthday, Friday June 26th, 2020. Says British graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook on Facebook:
"One of the most influential designers in the history of design. I can't think of a designer who will be more missed by our community."
For those who are not familiar with Milton Glaser, I’ve gathered some facts and put them into a timeline:
June 26, 1929: Milton Glaser is born in the Bronx, to Eugene and Eleanor (Bergman) Glaser, immigrants from Hungary. His father owned a dry-cleaning and tailoring shop; his mother was a homemaker.
Late 1940s: After high school, while working at a package-design company, Glaser tried to get into Pratt Institute. After failing entrance exam twice, he finally applied to the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and was accepted, so studied there instead.
1954: Glaser set up Push Pin Studios with three Cooper Union classmates. He remained at this successful studio for over 20 years.
1957: He married Shirley Girton, his replacement at the package-design company that first hired him. They remained married until his death, over 60 years later.
1967: One of his most famous works is created, a Bob Dylan poster, inserted in Dylan’s Greatest Hits album (see above).
1968: Glaser and editor Clay Felker found New York magazine, where he was president and design director until 1977. The visual format that still largely survives to this day.
1974: Glaser started his own design firm, Milton Glaser Inc. He remained working here regularly and productively up until his death.
1977: Probably his most famous work was created, the “I ♥ NY” logo, part of a campaign to promote tourism in New York State.
1983: He teamed up with Walter Bernard to launch WBMG, a publication design firm that created more than 50 magazines, newspapers and periodicals globally.
Late 80s: The logo and packaging for Brooklyn Brewery is created, still in existence today.
2004: He received a lifetime achievement award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (now the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum).
2009: He became the first graphic designer to receive the National Medal of Arts.
2014: Designed the prolific poster for the final season of the television series “Mad Men.”
He taught graphic design at the School of Visual Arts for over 60 years.
He has never used a computer (though his designers do).
A quote from one of his last interviews, a few weeks before his death:
“I’m trying to acquire a new studio next door to a new apartment we bought. So that is the height of optimism, to buy a new apartment at the age of 90.”
Some of my favourite quotes:
"There is nothing more pleasurable to me than drawing and discovering I could do things I didn't know I was capable of."
"I don't think of my work as a series of pieces. Instead, I always think of what I learned from doing the piece and where it has led me."
"As I often quote Picasso, 'once you've mastered something, you can abandon it.'"
22 May 2020
I've been reading quite a bit about the scientific developments behind tacking COVID-19 and there is so much information out there, but news about this drug stood out to me...When the body's immune response over reacts, as it does with some COVID-19 patients, a lot of damage can be done. Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Bert Vogelstein and his team at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will start clinical trials shortly, with a drug that may ease this hyperinflammatory response before it starts.As symptoms would be managed before they become severe, this could reduce the need for ICU admission or ventilator use. Of course, a vaccine would prevent someone from getting the illness in the first place, but a drug such as this one could be extremely useful before a vaccine is available.For a bit of the science, when macrophages, and other immune cells, detect a virus particle, they send out cytokines (as per the tiny purple specks in the image above). Cytokines help by bringing other immune cells to the scene – and this is what ultimately helps the body fight off a virus. However, macrophages can also release catecholamines, which amplifies the response, so even more cytokines are released. Once this starts, the whole process snowballs - and there seems to be an inability to properly switch it off. The drug being tested is an alpha blocker, that may limit cytokine release.Like many scientists, HHMI scientists are joining many of their colleagues worldwide in working to combat the new coronavirus. Stories of some of this work will feature on their site, so I'm looking forward to reading more.
The story featured in this post may be found here.
17 April 2020
Hello the MLE,
Like me, have you ever wondered the meaning of that French painting Gabrielle d’Estrées and One of Her Sisters (ca. 1594)?
The woman with the light hair is Gabrielle d’Estrées, mistress of King Henry IV of France, and the other with her dark hair is her sister, the Duchess de Villars. They turn half towards the viewer as they sit in a bathtub lined with silk. The hand of the woman on the left pinches the nipple of the woman on the right, her index finger and thumb forming a perfect “C.”
What is going on here? Well, there are three interpretations…
1) A sexualized queer and incestuous scene
- In France during the 16-century, lesbian relationships were not completely unknown.
- We can assume the presence of female viewers as well as male, queer as well as straight.
- Throughout history the painting has been received as though it depicts a lesbian relationship (eg, the 19th century, for instance, a Louvre museum official reportedly covered up the “lewd” painting with a sheet).
2) A coded announcement of a royal pregnancy
- The fingers wrapped around Gabrielle’s nipple symbolizes her fertility, an allusion emphasized by the presence of the figure sewing baby’s clothes in the back of the painting.
- Most art historians interpret the painting as an announcement that Gabrielle is pregnant with the King’s illegitimate son.
3) A male hetero erotic fantasy
- The emphasis on the erotic possibilities between sisters.
- Gabrielle’s status as a mistress.
- Gabrielle sexualized and stripped even when relaying a pregnancy announcement.
- The boring fact that depictions of something resembling lesbian arousal is often in the eventual service of male heterosexuality.
So there you go! Have a nice weekend!
SuzanPosted in: art
6 April 2020
Unlike artists or architects, most people don’t usually know the names of famous graphic designers. Though they usually know their work. Of course everyone knows the I Love New York logo (1976) and the Bob Dylan poster (1966), above. But do they know they were designed by the famous graphic designer, Milton Glaser?
His work aside, there are a number of things that are quite remarkable about Glaser’s career…
He was born and lived in New York City his entire life.
He has been in the business for over 65 years.
He has been teaching graphic design at the School of Visual Arts for 62 years.
To this day, he reports to his Manhattan studio five days a week, even on this 90th birthday, which he celebrated last summer. He has no intention of ever retiring.
He has never used a computer.
That’s all for now!