Robots Take Over Art

Machines already sing in duets with people, write their own literary works and draw

Jimmy Fallon sings with the robot Sofia
Jimmy Fallon sings with the robot Sofia
Снимка: Youtube

Robots will take away our jobs - in recent years, this threat has become one of the most often repeated refrains, associated with the development of artificial intelligence. We hear it from ordinary people, as well as prominent IT entrepreneurs and futurologists, and a number of analytical companies even calculate in percentage the number of jobs that will be cut off in one sector or another, as a result of the penetration of smart machinery.

Professional drivers will be replaced by autonomous cars, a number of other low-skilled jobs are also threatened with extinction and according to some self-proclaimed experts, the creative professions will be among the few that are immune to the upcoming change. But is that really so? Very soon, this argument can be smashed into pieces, since last year, robots have become artists and literally entered into all spheres of art. It turns out that artificial intelligence, regardless of the fact that it might be

underdeveloped at the moment,

can now write its own stories and novels, draw paintings and compose music.

Below you can read some of the most interesting examples from the recent months.

For the first of its kind duet between a man and a robot, the American comedian and television host Jimmy Fallon “invited” in his Tonight Show several robots, including the four-legged Mini Cheetah, as well as the anthropomorphic Sofia, who became known as the first robot citizen of a state (Saudi Arabia) about a year ago. After “she” boasted to the host that she had learned to sing, they performed together in a duet the song Say Something by Christina Aguilera. The machine did a fairly good job, thanks to her new artificial voice, with which she boasted a little earlier in the show. And if the performance with Sofia may have seemed set up to some viewers, this cannot be said for the next example.

A Japanese programme managed to write a short novel that even passed the first round of a national literary competition in the country of the rising sun. The very title of the work is “The Day the Computer Wrote a Novel” and the jury, without knowing that the author was actually a machine, gave a high assessment to the structure and the plot. What was not highly appreciated and due to which the novel did not win a prize, however, was the description of the characters.

Even more successful was an artificial intelligence artist, created by the Obvious art group, whose work in October created a

real furore

at an auction in the Christie's Auction House. It was bought by an anonymous buyer for the impressive USD 432,000, which was 40 times more than the expected price of USD 10,000. The painting is a portrait called “Edmond de Belamy of the Belamy family”, and according to many, the success of the auction is due not so much to the fact that the canvas is painted by a computer programme, but to its real artistic qualities.

It was created thanks to the first “smart” drawing algorithm, which had previously analysed 15,000 different portraits in order to “understand” the rules for creating a portrait and then painted its creation. Even more impressive is that human faces remain a relatively complex task for recreation by a machine. Even the signature on the canvas is a mathematical equation. As the authors of the creative algorithm explain in an interview for CNBC, the goal of their project was to show that artificial intelligence could do much more than drive autonomous cars or manage production machines, and it even could

be creative

A goal similar to that of Hitoshi Matsubara, who created the programme, which is the author of the novels from the example above.

What's really going on? Is it true that after they have been much better in intellectual games like chess for decades, and recently – in more sophisticated games like poker, the machines today are about to catch up with us in art? An area that is not just considered a territory reserved for man, but also a sphere that defines human civilisation. And if so, what are we to expect in the future? Will we soon witness the first big rock star – a computer whose music will have thousands of fans around the world? Or will we see a literary best-seller written by artificial intelligence?

Such a development is quite possible, especially given the extent to which art is subject to new fashion trends and to which the public tends to perceive innovation in music, stage performance, film production or writing. It is enough to imagine how the audience would have reacted to the modern rock or electronic music two centuries ago in order to assume that there will hardly be any significant obstacles to the future entry of the creative algorithms. A process that in the meantime will lead to the emergence of quality new forms of art. Only a month ago, artificial intelligence managed to create quite realistic pictures of people who did not actually exist. And that seems to be just the beginning. It looks like smart machines are no longer satisfied only with a central role in the plots of some works of art and have decided to take their place among its creators. With all its consequences for the development of popular culture in the future.

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Етикети: art | Robors | Sofia

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