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Will AI art end the artist’s life?

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Rather than announce that human artists are now doomed, software engineer Ben Dixon interviewed a number of them and came away with a rather different picture, that “AI-generated art will improve, but artistic creativity will remain a human discipline.” “[article title]” at Mind Matters

It cuts both ways. Artists can instantiate their ideas more efficiently using better tools. Michelangelo could be more precise than the Stone Age cave artists. But artists can’t just use AI to automate creativity so that the machine writes masterpieces while they doze off. Information does not create and arrange itself via magic.

See also: Could AI write novels?

Screenwriters jobs are not threatened by artificial intelligence Unless the public starts preferring mishmash to creativity (Robert J. Marks)


2 AI hype for 2018: AI can write novels and screenplays better than the pros! (Robert J. Marks)

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8 Replies to “Will AI art end the artist’s life?

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    The rise of Abstract or Modern Art in the 19th century was a reaction of artists to the perfection of the camera. That is, prior to the camera, Art’s practical definition was “DUPLICATING the real world/nature”: a painting was good or not so good depending on how well the individual painter or sculptor could make his work look like something (or someone) in the real world.
    Once photographers could do this with machines, Artists decided that they would make messes on canvas and demand praise. And the public, at least the artsy public, bought it. I had an art class in college in which the professor declared that “you can’t define beauty”, and so random pieces of crap were to be considered as artistic as a portrait by David (a Frenchie, pronounced “dah-VEED”). One of Jackson Pollock’s “works” hangs (used to hang? I think I heard they FINALLY took the thing down a decade or 2 ago) in a stairwell in the Art Institute in Chicago. It hangs THERE because it’s perhaps 20 x 30 FEET. And of course looks like a drop cloth used by especially messy house painters. But Pollock was a “genius”…
    So, what the Marketing guys need to do is SELL the idea that crap produced by computers is “art”. I don’t doubt that computers can already bang you out a painting “in the style” of David or Picasso or even Michelangelo. The selection of the Subject and the background and the presence or absence of odd details might need some human assistance.

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    This seems that this might be used as a strike against human creativity and the mind by reducing the human creative process to equations and machines.
    The idea that if a machine can do it, it’s not special, although it was human creativity that made the machine, but as an artist, this is never the less unnerving

  3. 3
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Nokia CEO Risto Siilasmaa on Machine Learning, in Nov 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNMy7NCQDgk

    At the end of this video, which is quite good if you’re a novice to AI/Machine Learning from a business manager’s perspective, he makes this statement:

    IF we believe that intelligence is a function of the physical world (brain is a physical organ, intelligence is a physical function of the brain) and not of God or some metaphysical being,
    AND that technology will continue to improve (it may slow but why would it stop?),
    THEN some people feel that it is very logical that there will be an intelligence explosion, it’s only a matter of TIME.
    Because we will figure out the algorithms that are being used by our brain, and just copy them: we don’t need to invent something that doesn’t exist. Generic intelligence already exists in our brains. We implement something like that using computers that are getting faster and faster all the time, that have much more data to use than we have, and there will be a superhuman level being … one day.”

    Addressing the emphasised elements in order:

    1. This is the crux of the matter. IS intelligence a physical function of a physical organ? There is very weak evidence that it is, i.e. you damage the physical organ then you degrade the intelligence level. But there is an enormous body of evidence, from common human experience, from history, from neuroscience, from medicine, from design theory, from information theory, from religion, that it is not nor can be a purely physical function.
    The “IF” statement exists BECAUSE of the recognition of this reality, that the physicality of thought is an a priori ideological metaphysical commitment which axiomatically is not and can not be a conclusion based on assessment of the evidence.

    Huh.

    2. Let’s concede that, all else being equal, technology may well continue (at whatever rate) to get faster and cheaper, but just note that this is another assumption not an appeal to the evidence.

    3. THEN, some people (qualification) feel that it is logical (“feel that it is logical“??? What do feelings have to do with logic? A further qualification, and a senseless one, an oxymoron) that there will be an explosion of intelligence.

    “Some people feel that it is logical” is both a hedge, a refusal to state positively that HE believes it, leaving himself an out, and a massive weakening of the proposition, due to cascading qualifications.

    4. It is only a matter of TIME. This is the core myth at the heart of materialism. Darwinian concepts are trivially and irredeemably fantastic without resort to unfathomably immense oceans of deep time. Nobody could be tempted to give them any credence if they were proposed as working on a less imposing scope of time. This is why materialists are irrevocably and aggressively hostile to creation and creationists. They know that creationism attacks directly the deepest foundation of their preferred creation myth, the necessity for deep time.

    Can TIME alone make the impossible possible? Can TIME alone make the improbable probable? Does this proposition make any sense?

    No, the machines are not going to take over. They’re not going to become conscious. WHY would we labor to reproduce an illusion in our servants? How stupid a proposition is THAT? Can you imagine a MORE stupid proposition? And yet the materialists, those who claim to believe that intelligence is a physical function of a physical organ, are also those who – AS ABOVE – claim to believe that machines will one day be designed to share our illusions. That all our work to design machines with the ability to recognise reality, will culminate in them being subject to an inability to recognise reality?

    Hey, maybe the machines are ALREADY conscious?

    Sigh … …

    I won’t bore you with ironies about creating God (“superhuman level intelligence” with illusions of consciousness) in our own image, nor references to Arthur C Clarke stories about who created God.

    But … sigh.

  4. 4
    AaronS1978 says:

    Just read this post, ScuzzaMan, coming from me, I know what I’m saying might not mean much, but I could not be more impressed with what you wrote here. Seriously, very cool.

  5. 5
    EDTA says:

    Art should be by people, for people. And it shouldn’t be the postmodern garbage we’ve been handed for the past 60-90 years or so; such ‘art’ does not fulfill its highest purpose, which is to communicate emotion and the common experience of being human.) Machines can’t make true art, because they don’t care. (They could help an artist perhaps, but nothing more.)

    Long, but required reading if you care about art: https://www.artrenewal.org/ARCPhilosophy

  6. 6
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Thanks, Aaron. Kind words are always appreciated, and that was very kind.

  7. 7
    doubter says:

    I found an excellent analysis of this, at https://www.quora.com/Why-do-so-many-people-hate-modern-and-contemporary-art-with-such-a-passion. The author says it like it is: our culture (or at least the “intelligentsia”) is decadent and beset by the nihilism of materialism.
    Some good excerpts from the article:

    “The stem word of ‘art’ is Latin ars, skill. Art is the mirror of the soul of the artist, the society, the culture which has produced it. A beautiful soul produces beautiful art, a harmonous soul produces harmonous art, a hideous soul produces hideous art, a broken soul produces broken art. ….. Everything boils down to the three basic values: truth, goodness and beauty. ….Why is modern art hideous? Because modern art is basically the break-off from Classical ideas and challenging the natural concept of beauty. The Classical and Medieval periods equated beauty with goodness, and Godhead; the art was to reach for the divine and the capture the God’s image within us.

    Came the 19th century, photography, Freud, Nietzsche, Atheism, evolution theory and Socialism. Humans no more were the images of God, but animals among animals. Psychology came up with the idea that we are animals psychologically as well as biologically: that culture and civilization is merely a surface treatment over the urges, instincts and drives of an animal, a predator, a beast, and that we consciously perceive is merely the tip of the iceberg under the unconscious.

    So the artist was no more to capture the world as it is: photography would do it. Art would no more be about reaching the divine within us, because God was dead. The art would no more be about idealizing the things, but rather digging up the beast within us. Art became no more to paint what you see or what you imagine, but what you feel.

    And the universal feeling was anxiety and emptiness. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the nineteenth-century intellectual world’s sense of anxiety had become a full-blown distress. The artists responded, exploring in their works the implications of a world in which reason, dignity, optimism, and beauty seemed to have disappeared. One of the three profound basic values, beauty, was nullified.

    Modern art became completely unhinged after the World War One. The reason is that many of the artists had been conscripted in the armies as soldiers, and they came home with the sensitive artist’s soul broken and shattered. Dada was the first truly insane form of art. Dada manifested the complete irrationality and madness of the world. Marcel Duchamp bought a pissoir in a hardware store, put it upon a plinth and named it The Fountain; the critics claimed it was art.

    After Dada nothing has been the same. Almost all styles and movements after Dada have been ugly, hideous, mad, unbalanced, disharmonous and trivial.

    ….the grand audience has not been amused. They see Modern and Contemporary art merely as fraud: something which they pay with their taxes and something which the artists use to cheat their living on the expense of the audience and to fund their alcohol and cocaine habits. And not necessarily without grounds.

    ….the evolution of the Modern art and the contemporary art can be also seen as the decay of the soul of the Western culture and its slow decline and descent from the torchbearer of humankind into a complete Nihilistic madness. Little by little beginning from 1870s the art has become more trivial, more insane, more schizophrenic. If and when the art is the mirror of the soul of the culture which has created it, then the Western soul is empty.

    The Western culture has reached its evolutionary dead end on its self-inflicted Nihilism: its soul is dead, void and empty.”

  8. 8
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Thanks, Doubter. that was worth sharing and reading.

    You can see this same effect in the literary world: what is considered art there is hideous.

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