AI and the Visual Arts:

Lecture: Generative AI and the Art of Disruptive Innovation

Emily L. Spratt

PhD Princeton University, History of Art; Postdoctorate Columbia University, Data Science Institute

  Art Historian, Data Scientist, Strategic Advisor

Clayton Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation largely defines the new tech economy, yet there has been little consideration of its relation to applications of emerging technologies such as generative artificial intelligence in the arts. In this presentation, the concept of disruptive innovation and the rapid development of AI will be explored through an examination of artworks and creative projects that convey significant aspects of their technological means of production. While technological disruption as an aesthetic has spurred an inescapable cultural and entrepreneurial revolution, should innovation for the purpose of innovation supplant the pursuit of invention out of necessity? Has ars gratia artis succumbed to a global impulse toward technology for the sake of technology? By consequence, what are the ethical concerns involved with utilizing AI for creative applications? To answer these questions, contemporary artworks such as those by Julie Mehretu, Mario Klingemann, Refik Anadol, and Trevor Jones will be discussed as unexpected vehicles through which to consider the changing approaches to innovation in today’s new tech economy. Analyzed together, art and AI offer surprising insights into the international regulatory frameworks of emerging technologies and potential routes for navigating their increasingly complex policy landscape.

Time will be allocated for Q&A.

Cosponsored by Harvard, Cornell, and Princeton Clubs of DC.

This event will be held in-person at the historic Whittemore House at Dupont Circle.

Dr. Emily L. Spratt is an art historian, technologist, and strategic advisor based in New York City, where she is faculty at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She received her doctorate in art history from Princeton University and completed her post-doctorate on art and artificial intelligence at Columbia University in the Data Science Institute. Known for her wide-ranging scholarship on the history of art, Byzantium and the Venetian Renaissance, cultural heritage preservation, gastronomy, applied computer vision science, the ethics of emerging technology, and art tech, Dr. Spratt has been described as a multi-field pioneer and a leader in machine learning for the arts, the ethics of data science, and the creative-tech sector. Dr. Spratt served as an expert consultant for the AI-inspired film Fellini Forward that premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival. In 2019, she was invited by the office of President Emmanuel Macron to curate Au-delà du Terroir, Beyond AI Art for the Global Forum on AI for Humanity. She has collaborated with the chef Alain Passard and created The Gastronomic Algorithms, the results of which she published in an article with MIT Press. In Frankfurt and Los Angeles, she curated Unhuman: Art in the Age of AI (2017), which was the first exhibition of its kind to use deep learning techniques to produce art with the AICAN algorithm. In addition, Dr. Spratt has been the strategic advisor of the blockchain-based art market company Artory, the high technology advisor of The Frick Collection and Art Reference Library, and the art and tech lead at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. She also holds advisory roles with the Artificial Intelligence Finance Institute, Exponential Impact, Ethical Tech at Duke University, See.Me, and Princeton, and has been the recipient of numerous international fellowships and awards. Dr. Spratt’s insights have been sought by media outlets such as the Washington Post, Agence France-Presse, CBC, and CBS News.

For more information about Dr. Spratt, please visit HERE.


September 14, 2023 at 6:30pm - 8pm

The Whittemore House

1526 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Miyako Yerick


Will you come?

$27.00 All other guests #tickets at $27 each
$22.00 Wharton Alumni #tickets at $22 each
$22.00 Princeton Club of DC members #tickets at $22 each
$22.00 Cornell Club of DC members #tickets at $22 each
$22.00 Harvard Club of DC members #tickets at $22 each
$22.00 ColumbiaDC members #tickets at $22 each