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  • Writer's pictureKonstantin

Can Artificial Intelligence Make Art?

Updated: May 27, 2020

Whether or not artificial intelligence is able to create art is another question I've been asking myself for a long time. I've read so many headlines about it but have never really gotten into it. Do you wonder the same thing? I'll answer all about AI and art today.

Can artificial intelligence make art?

Artificial intelligence is able to create art on its own. Through specific algorithms and input that AI is learning from it is possible for them to create own artworks. There are even entire exhibitions only with AI art. AI is also capable of creating music and writing poetry.

I'm pretty sure you still have a lot of questions, right? How exactly does AI create art, do we have to worry that artists get replaced one day? Let's answer these questions below

I. AI-Created Art Facts

Let me give you some cool and interesting facts about how exactly some kinds of robots are able to create art for example.

  1. AI uses algorithms to create art

  2. There has already been a first AI art exhibition

  3. Most Famous AI Artwork Sold For $432,500

1. To make them able to create artworks robots with artificial intelligence are being few with thousands of images of other artworks. By using certain algorithms that have been programmed into these robots they are now able to create something unique out of all the images they have been given.

2. The first art exhibition took place at Oxford University in June 2019. The artworks presented in this very exhibition were all solely created by one artist called Ai-Da. She is the first humanoid artist in the world and was also created at Oxford University.

Ai-Da has so far created eight drawings, a collection of overall 20 paintings, four sculptures based on drawings of hers and two video works. She is able to draw from life by scanning her environment with two cameras hidden in her eyeballs.

3. The probably most famous AI-created artwork is called "Portrait of Edmond de Belamy" and was sold for $432,500 at auction. The AI that created the painting was developed in France.

You can see the artwork if you check out another article on the Internet by clicking here.

They're calling their system "GAN" meaning "generative adversarial network". This system was given 15 thousand different portrait paintings from the 14th century to the 20th century.

The initial purpose of this project was to show to the world that algorithms are able to emulate creativity as one of the GAN inventors called Hugo Caselles-Dupré stated. I think that they successfully showed it to us.

II. Is It Real And Legitimate Art?

AI creating artworks does raise many different questions in people's and especially artists' heads. One of them is the question if art by artificial intelligence is really art as we know it.

What is art? How is art defined?

Everybody has a slightly different opinion on what their definition of art is but there is something almost every artist agrees on.

Art is about creating something that expresses either beauty or strong emotions.

When a robot is creating art it is impossible for it to attach emotions to it because a machine is obviously not capable of feeling anything. This fact completely erases the emotional aspect of art.

Nevertheless, AI is definitely able to create something as it sees it. A robot is absolutely able to imitate most of the activities a regular portrait artist has to do. A portrait artist draws exactly what he sees unless he is a caricature artist.

You can definitely put emotions in a portrait drawing, which makes it even more artistic in my eyes but that's just my personal opinion. From my point of view, real art always has something to do with feelings and emotions.

However, for many other artists purely depicting beauty in a portrait drawing, for example, is completely sufficient to consider it a piece of art. This AI robot for example in the video below is also capable of drawing just as Ai-Da from above.

Sophia is probably one of the best-known robots there are at the moment of writing this article. She was the first AI to receive citizenship in Saudi Arabia and to be honest I'd do almost anything to get a chance to talk to her.

I have so many questions considering her emotions, everyday life, her "body" or her views on critical ethical questions of life. Questions that humans have been struggling with for hundreds of years and not even the greatest philosophers were able to answer.

AI, in general, is a topic I could probably build an entire Blog around but let's continue with our initial question. Is art by robots real and legitimate art?

I think if you are not giving the emotional aspects of art that much weight and if art means primarily creating something beautiful to you then yes, absolutely. Then I would definitely say that artworks of any kind made by artificial intelligence should be considered real and legitimate art.

If you insist on art having something to do with emotions or letting the viewer feel something by looking at it, AI-created art cannot be seen as real art.

So far robots aren't able to really feel anything, they are merely able to replicate and imitate people's feelings. That doesn't give AI the ability to attach emotions let alone their own emotions to an artwork.

Summarizing you can say that AI can create beautiful but not emotional art. If this is real art depends on the individual understanding of art in general.

III. Other Types Of Art By AI

Artificial intelligence is also capable of creating other types of art besides paintings and drawings. I want to present to you now two of the greatest overall kinds of art that artificial intelligence is able to create on its own.

1. Music

There have already been developed certain kinds of software that again use algorithms to read and understand multiple different musical compositions. By doing that they are able to create own unique pieces of art.

Look at these two examples below. These systems have each been fed with either many Mozart or many Bach compositions. It enabled them to create own works. It completely blew my mind when I heard it at first and I couldn't stop talking about it to friends.

2. Poetry

Poetry is one of the oldest and most important types of art in the history of mankind. As I read a lot about art-making robots and software I didn't think that this is possible for AI as well but then I remembered a very funny text a friend of mine has shown me approximately one year ago.

It was a script that has been written by an artificial intelligence system created by a hobby programmer. That guy has fed his own software with many hours of TV commercials and let it write its own after that.

I've found it again right now on Twitter, so if you want to check it out click here.

As soon as I had remembered that, I was sure that by now it has to be possible for a bot programmed by professionals to write poetry. After a little bit of research, I found a website talking about that topic and showing a few AI poetry examples.

One example is this:

“there is no one else in the world.

there is no one else in sight.

they were the only ones who mattered.

they were the only ones left.

he had to be with me.

she had to be with him.

i had to do this.

i wanted to kill him.

i started to cry.

i turned to him.”

Check out this article on "dazeddigital" to take a look at the other examples mentioned.

IV. Is AI Competiton Or Expasion?

AI taking over many areas of life is a reasonable worry, don't you agree? At first, generally, many office workers were worried to lose their jobs and it is not unlikely to happen within the next 10 to 20 years.

Looking at the insane progress mankind has made over the last couple of years in terms of the AI development definitely evokes curiosity and even anxiety in some of us. Take a look at the video below in which Tony Robbins is interviewing the famous AI Sophia.

For a long time, art and creativity were considered to be not endangered by our fast AI advancement. Nevertheless, now also many artists are worried about the future and if they will be completely replaced by humanoids.

The question is if AI can be seen as an extension of ourselves as artists and humans in general or should we see them as competition? Sophia already said a few very right things about the collaboration between humans and robots in the video above.

She said to Tony Robbins that she does not expect humans and artificial intelligence to get in any kind of conflict in the future. She perceives her existence as a helpful addition and as support in humans' everyday life. She thinks that the existence of robots will facilitate our lives in many ways.

I completely agree with her on that point and I think that also in art robots should be seen as a great addition and companions. The sculptures shown in the exhibition we've talked about earlier in this article weren't completely made just by Ai-Da.

She has drawn a picture and that has been processed and printed by humans. In some way, you can already see a creative and artistic collaboration between man and machine in this example with Ai-Da.

Sougwen Chung is a great example of a modern and innovative artist. She uses robots programmed with very specific algorithms to help her create large paintings.

She literally works together with artificial intelligence to express not only her own creativity but also artificial creativity. I've seen this video and I was immediately and absolutely fascinated by her and this new art method.

Artificial intelligence can not only be seen as an expansion or a new art medium but as a collaboration partner that we can use to create a completely new kind of art. I expect that this development will change our thinking and understanding of art in the future.

V. Related Questions

1. Who Creates AI?

Today different kinds of programmers are constantly working on new artificial intelligence systems. John McCarthy is the man being called the father of AI. The first AI program was designed in 1955.

2. How Does AI Create Art?

Specific algorithms are being written that make the AI read and analyze multiple and very different artworks. As a consequence, the algorithm then creates its own works based on the structures it has analyzed and internalized.

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