"A few weeks ago, an AFC reader commented on the potential of Art.sy, the still-theoretical “Pandora for art”.


Anyone who’s seriously suggesting that software algorithms can replace humans in their interactions with art has overstayed their 15 minutes of fame and should be treated as such. Enough said.


AFC staff were quick to point out that Art.sy’s probably not going to put anybody out of work, but then I got to thinking: why not? Art.sy’s suggestion engine model is easy enough to swallow, but Google’s new Search by Image feature imagines something more revolutionary: computer-assisted curation.


The principal requirement of curation is a knowledge of human associations, both visual and cultural, and it seems inevitable that computers will soon understand those associations as well as we do. Each time we search, create, or organize online, we go some way towards ensuring this: the algorithm is always listening.


Through our actions and choices, we’re continually adding to the body of information available concerning the patterns of human visual culture. Today, simply including an image on AFC creates a network of connections and datapoints recording the possible presence of subjects known to be common to the site: contemporary art, for instance, or GIFs, or even “hipster pussy” (which, incidentally, is a significant traffic driver)