Prompting for biodiversity: visual research with generative AI

Gabriele Colombo (Designer), Carlo De Gaetano (Designer), Sabine Niederer

Research output: Web publication or non-textual formWeb publication or websiteAcademic


The concept of biodiversity, which usually serves as a shorthand to refer to the diversity of life on Earth at different levels (ecosystems, species, genes), was coined in the 1980s by conservation biologists worried over the degradation of ecosystems and the loss of species, and willing to make a case for the protection of nature – while avoiding this “politically loaded” term (Takacs, 1996). Since then, the concept has been embedded in the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, established in 1992) and of the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES, aka ‘the IPCC for biodiversity’, established in 2012). While the concept has gained policy traction, it is still unclear to which extent it has captured the public imagination. Biodiversity loss has not triggered the same amount of attention or controversy as climate change globally (with some exceptions). This project, titled Prompting for biodiversity, investigates how this issue is mediated by generative visual AI, directing attention to both how ‘biodiversity’ is known and imagined by AI and to how this may shape public ideas around biodiversity loss and living with other species.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherThe Digital Methods Initiative
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2023


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