Just this month an Art Exhibition was announced. Nothing special about that except that the Artist is a humanoid robot; Ai-Da (named after Ada Lovelace).
If you’re an AI nerd you probably already know that robots have been making art lately. If you’re not an AI nerd, well, let us break it to you. For a couple of years now people have been organizing art competitions for robots.
This field has actually picked up quite the pace now. Many engineers and technologists have been coming up with robots that make art in different styles. Then there is a famous name in the robot art world Pindar Van Arman, a software Engineer and artist. He specializes in using AI tech in Telerobotics to make art producing robots. If you want to see the main principle on which his machines work you can watch the video.
AI is also beginning to be used in other art fields such as writing and music production especially in sound mastering.
Human Art Vs. Robot Art
The Hard Questions
What is art? Is it imitation of life? Is it manipulation of real life elements? Is it something new; an escape? Or maybe it is all these things and possibly more. This last statement is probably the safest because it accounts for all the different kinds of relationships humans have with the medium.
For those who see art as an imitation of life, maybe this is an exciting take? Life seen through the eyes of a lifeless being. This situation that we’re in is so singular and unique in itself because we’ve never been faced with the question of a different kind of intelligence and a lifeless being.
At the time of the Industrial Revolution machines took jobs, sure, but they were not independent. Their sole aim was to help. The steam engine did not threaten to demand a share in our humanity. And to be honest, if we like we can choose to look at this robot conundrum that way too. At the moment, their creativity and potential for imagination is still debatable.
What we have and they don’t
A great contributor to art, maybe even the greatest, is emotion. While it is true that we have figured out which parts of the brain cause which emotions. A basic google search will tell you that anger is the working of the right hippocampus. Okay cool, but why do different people become angry at different things? All humans will not have the same reaction to a stimulus. Siblings exhibit different responses too (this was for all the Nurture arguers).
The point is that AI, at present at least, is only getting better at helping humans. The art that is made by a robot also reflects the creativity of the engineer who made it. Robots, thus, become a medium for humans to be creative with. It is an exciting prospect and a great opportunity for innovation.
Simone Stolzoff writes, “For us, art is not an end in itself; it’s a means to communicate a shared experience.”
This is the gist of it all.
- Human art is a means of depicting shared experiences and emotions. It is a step towards solidarity and empathy. Robot art is either a robot helping a human materialize their vision, or it is an exhibition of style- innovation on the part of humans.
- Human art is backed by emotion. Robot art is mathematical.
- Human art adds to the human experience. Robot art’s worth lies in its newness.
If you look at it this way, it seems like for the time being we have nothing to fear. Innovation and success with AI only means better and more intelligent assistants for humans. And let’s face it, we could all use a little help.