Artificial Intelligence: Interpreting Artistic Essence?

Claudia Kusznirczuk

Machines are the collective brains of humans capable of storing generations of knowledge, dissecting and solving impossible algorithms and creating cures for numerous human ailments.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the futuristic concept of advancement, innovation, and creativity developing in the present, but can this miracle of machines produce artistic creativity, passion and emotion necessary to generate art?  

AI/machines are rapidly becoming sensitive and sensitized, artistically creative and expressive, bursting with emotion, capable of creating great works of art from the collective experiences and knowledge of the greatest artist.  AI has vast mind capacity and capabilities, like no other single human, it can act, sense and process superior to a human brain.

Moore’s Law indicates that technology doubles every two years.  The human brain has about 86 billion neurons presenting eventual limitations in what it can store, process and perceive, whereas a computer/AI is modular, ever growing and learning allowing for limitless expansion.1   

Eventually AI will far surpass humans in intelligence, reasoning and through continual development and progression of feeling to bring emotion and perception down to its lowest levels therefore eventually possibly teaching humans about feeling and emotion. 
Professor Francesco Gardin, formerly of the Italian National Research Council and the European Union Research Centre serving as co-ordinator of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory provided a similar insight into the humanization of machines and advancements of AI in art.   Professor Gardin, author of more than 50 individual and joint publications and three books on AI from its inception back in the 80’s, was asked whether cold machines with ‘deep learning’ abilities can project human-like artistic expression, creativity and emotion to art.   

Initially, Professor Gardin sought to understand the definition of artistic intelligence and expression in the context of art.  According to Professor Gardin, once these elements are properly defined, then these premises can be mapped, programmed and released to evolve and create.   Professor Gardin indicated that Dr. Alan Turin proved these basic elemental premises of AI back in the 1950’s through the Turin tests, indicating that if a computer can solve any sets of problems then computers can progressively demonstrate traits of reason, emotion, logic and intelligence.    
 

Professor Gardin, Simulated AI Representation

Professor Gardin

When posed with the question of intelligence, emotion and artistic perception, Professor Gardin backtracked to the original ideals of AI, namely that machines by virtue of their lack of human limitations can only continually improve.  

Professor Gardin stated that ‘humans are machines’ and ‘all things are eventually possible’, and through Dr. Turin’s principles, purports that machines are in a continual state of evolution, therefore as quoted ‘something that can be done by humans can be done better by machines’.  The AI brain developed to learn, adapt and evolve should eventually, if not already, can create dynamic works of art full of colour, depth, perception and expression.  He asserts that development has been going on in every field and science, therefore art is no different and the expectation is that AI will eventually create the perfect art. 

Christie’s auction house raised awareness and criticism of the art world with the AI formulated algorithm creation of an aristocratic gentleman titled 'Portrait of Edmond de Belamy' (2018).  The artwork initially estimated at $7,000 to $10,000, but sold in 7 minutes for $432,0000, which is an astonishing 43 times the initial estimated value.  If valuation is proof of artistic integrity and creativity, then AI art has far exceeded all expectations and may prove to be better than works of contemporary human counterparts.   An Andy Warhol print sold for $75,000 and a Roy Lichtenstein work sold for $85,700 in the same lot as this relatively unknown AI work.2 
 

Portrait of Edmond de Belamy (2018 sold for $432,000)

It seems that machines are able to quantify sensitivity and internally learn to develop intelligence and expression.  This is further evident with the recent Sotheby’s AI art auction, although not as successful as the Christie’s auction, resulting in a $51,000 price on 6, March 2019. 

Mario Klingemann, 'Memories Of Passersby', AI Generated

‘Memories of Passersby’ is an AI generated visual imaging work that streams thousands of portraits from the 17th and 19th centuries, developed by Mario Klingeman, a German computer scientist turned artist.3  The work is continually changing and improving with each reiteration.  Sotheby’s followed this modest auction success with a purchase of an AI art company Thread Genius.

In Cornwall, a humanoid called AI-DA, a creation of Aidan Meller Galleries, has microchip eyes and a robotic arm draws and paints ultra-realistic portraits from sight under the instruction of AI processes and algorithms.  Named after the first female programmer, Ada Lovelace, AI-DA will be of mixed race and is scheduled to display her artworks in London in November 2019.5 

No one believes that the machine will replace artists, just as there is no unique technology for solving any one problem, many technologies can be used to solve or express ideas and should allow humans and machines to co-exist, cooperate and complement each other.  AI offers perspectives and works of new types and modes of art that can coexist along with the past and present creations and creators.  Professor Gardin believes that there can be a harmonious co-existence between humans and machine, but one suspects that the levels of the playing field have risen to genius standards and will continue to rise.  

AI offers a new perspective to the art world by presenting a mixture of augmented and aggregated talents, the critical expression and thoughts of numerous generations, varying styles and intermingling of cultures.  AI will not only generate art works depicting dance in nature, but a plethora of images with great skill, definition, expression and mastery.  Eventually, AI will teach artists the skills necessary to create masterpieces.  We must keep in mind that all things constitute art; science is a form of art and art is a form of science.  Machines reflect human understanding by learning through reasoning and augmented knowledge.  We are venturing into the artistic unknown and one day, a machine may evaluate one of the presently perceived great works of art as simply the work of an untalented artist, brought to fame by an artistically challenged and vastly under-educated audience.  Monet may eventually be displaced by R2D2.


Developmental Note:

As an effect of this project, Professor Gardin plans to formulate an AI assisted creative art project employing my assistance to develop a creativity platform.  This project is in the preliminary stages of idea formulation; however, we envision the development of an expanded AI Art platform that will assist even the least artistically inclined person to create art. 

 

Bibliography:

  1. Moore’s Law.  Retrieved from http://www.mooreslaw.org/

  2. Tim Schneider & Naomi Rea.  Has Artificial Intelligence Given Us the Next Great Art Movement. (September 25, 2018).  Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/arts/design/ai-art-sold-christies.html

  3. Thomas Mulier.  This Art has been Created by AI. Will Collectors Want it?. (February 9, 2019). Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-09/ai-art-from-mario-klingemann-memories-of-passersby-to-sell

  4. C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia.  Sotheby’s acquires artificial Intelligence company Thread Genius. (31/01/2018).  Retrieved from http://artradarjournal.com/2018/01/31/sothebys-acquires-artificial-intelligence-company-thread-genius/

  5. Douglas Patient. Robot BREAKTHROUGH: Brit company creates AI capable of DRAWING people. (11, February 2019). Retrieved from  https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/759002/ai-news-robot-cornwall-ai-da-draws-people-engineered-arts-future-humanoids

 

Interview:

Professor Francesco Gardin, (27, March 2019), Personal Interview

Video:

Blaise Agüera y Arcas. TED.  Wacky, weird art made by AI.  (May 2016).   Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/playlists/594/wacky_weird_art_made_by_ai

Research and General References:

Emerging Technology from the arXiv. Machine Creativity Beats some Modern Art. (June 30, 2017).  Retrieved from  https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608195/machine-creativity-beats-some-modern-art/

 

Contemporary Art Day Auction. (6, March 2019).  Retrieved from http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2019/contemporary-art-day-auction-l19021.html?locale=en

 

Candice Witton. Rise of AI Artists. (February 20, 2019).  Retrieved from https://www.cmo.com/features/articles/2019/2/13/rise-of-the-ai-   artist.html#gs.38tlqq

 

The Creative Cloud Team.  AI: The Unlikely Muse to Inspire Your Next Creative Breakthrough. (04-24-2018).  Retrieved from https://theblog.adobe.com/ai-unlikely-muse-inspire-next-creative-breakthrough/

 

Will Knight.  The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI. MIT Review. (April 2, 2017). Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604087/the-dark-secret-at-the-heart-of-ai/

 

© Claudia Kusznirczuk.