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An Interesting Discussion on AI and Art:

Tronhard
Elite
I have been watching the UK House of Lords investigation into rise of AI in the context of creativity in art.
 
A link to the long version is located at the bottom of this post, but if you want the short version here it is:
To quote the introduction:
Ai-Da Robot gives evidence at the House of Lords as part of its A Creative Future inquiry, examining potential challenges for the creative industries and looking at how they can adapt as tech advances.
 
One of the interesting things about this video, apart from the actual performance of the robot in its sophisticated humanistic behaviour, and eloquent discourse, is the revealing discussion it triggered on the nature of human creativity and the process of creativity. The evidence given in this session is very much one of a challenge and about triggering a realization and discussion of the implications of the developments of AI technology, in this case in the context of the artistic and creative communities.
 
Much in the same way that the cell phone with inbuilt camera and its connectivity to the web has been a disruptive technology, and caused some ire amongst traditional camera users, so it is apparent that technology demonstrated by Ai-Da is already initiating reactions within those at the committee – from excitement and stimulation at the promise and potential, to fear of loss. Something, ironically, that is missing from the robot’s presentation.
 
This, in some ways, reminds me of discussions that took place in the very earliest days of photography. In that context, the developers of photography looked at photography in terms of technology - they were technical nerds after all, and they did not really make a case for the photographer as a creative in the process of taking an image. This led to a long period where photography was not seen as an artistic endeavour, rather it was seen as a technological and industrial process. It also generated a strong reaction from artists at the time whose livelihoods were going to be threatened by the new potential to capture the images of loved ones - something that had hitherto been limited who could afford the services of a portraitist. That became a reality very quickly.
 
Much the same disruption and angst existed in the last decade of the 19th century when the Kodak camera allowed anyone to take a photograph, and separated the process of the shot from that of developing and printing. That created an explosion in the photography of the minutia of our lives that had not previously existing.  Again, it caused a strong reaction from the established photographic community, who felt threatened that both their hard-won status as artists and incomes would be eroded by that new development (no pun intended). It initiated the first official photographic artistic movement – Pictorialism, which rejected many of the features of a straight photograph and sought to mimic those imperfections of a human painter. Thus it was a social disruptor as well as a technological one.
 
It is very tempting to see parallels from that time and debate in this new examination of the state of AI and the human condition.
 
The Full Video:
The first hour will likely not be of much interest, but the fun begins in the video at time stamp 1:02:26, when an AI robot AI-DA actually gives evidence to the committee... You can find it: AT THIS LINK 

cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
6 REPLIES 6

Tintype_18
Whiz

Trevor, interesting post. With the AI, can it appreciate the sunrise or sunset over mountains, a lake or ocean and take breathtaking photos that emanate a feeling of awe and wonderment? Then the artist captures the scene in paints or a photographer snaps the photo to capture the feeling of the scene. I liken AI somewhat to my trail camera I have in the backyard, hoping to catch some wildlife during the day or night. It is neutral in scope and feeling. It snaps a photo(s) or video triggered by motion. Nothing more.

John

Tronhard
Elite

Ah, as I expected, the debate has begun! 🙂

The question you pose is about the emotion of appreciation from the creative's perspective.  There is no debate there: Ai-Da states its limitations.  Yet, algorithms can be created that evaluate what a human sees as beauty and record that, either accurately, or for future recreation as an interpretation.  As Aidan Meller, the instigator of the Ai-Da project said: we have to get used to the fact that creation is not a result of talent and inspiration, it is a process and that can be mastered by machine learning and artificial intelligence.  You might be interested in an interview with him on the Ai-Da project at this link .

The alternative question could be: would someone who saw the resultant image that AI created know the difference between that and a human-generated work?  This would address the emotive reaction of the human to the output of the creative process.  There, the result is already in.  Art created by Ai-Da has already won competitions against human artists.  It was not until the creator was revealed as an android that there was debate.


cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Ah, yes. Will the AI sign the artwork as Gaugin, Rembrandt, et al, did generations ago? Will AI generated artwork sell for millions at Sotheby's or Christy's?

Will greenies throw soup on AI artwork?🤔

John

You have posed interesting questions, and that is certainly what 'her' creator wanted to achieve, so they deserve an answer:

Will the AI sign the artwork as Gaugin, Rembrandt, et al, did generations ago? 
Actually, at least some of the artwork that Ai-Da has produced does have 'her' unique written signature.

Will AI generated artwork sell for millions at Sotheby's or Christy's?
'Her' artwork has earned over $1million in the first year alone.   'Her' work was exhibited at La Biennale di Venezia to significant acclaim.

It is produced using pencils and paint rendered via brushes.  'She' also produces sculpture and has worked interactively with human artists, so in the proprioceptive context at least, one can certainly argue that she is working on the same level as a human artist, as per the following video: 

Initially, 'her' renderings were was almost photographic in nature, but extra algorithms were added so that, using machine learning, 'she' could absorb influences from other artists, in particular Picasso is a major influencer. 'She' has taken all that information, processed and developed 'her' own algorithms from it and created 'her' own style.  Now, 'her' work is totally unpredictable and wide-ranging - it includes elements of expressionism, modernism and cubism within the portfolio and is often sharp and abstract, which 'she' says is to reflect our fractured world.

So, the answer to both of your first two questions tends towards a yes, in the latter not necessarily at present via Sotheby's or Christy's, but a lot of artists would only aspire to generate work that earns that kind of money and 'her' algorithms will expand continuously, using AI and machine learning.

As to the third: Will greenies throw soup on AI artwork?
The question itself is an interesting one that would seem to connect protest to greatness of art as a measure of value, something I would debate.  That act, and the responses it gets, is a function of the human condition, and like all such acts of passive or violent aggression is based on fear, leading to anger. Something I hope we never teach androids...

The journalist and author Jessica Furseth visited Ai-Da in 'her' studio and has written a book on the android, predictably enough entitled Ai-Da.   Here is a quote from that:
"Without a personality, are Ai-Da’s drawings art? Meller points out that her work adheres to the definition of creativity as defined by Margaret Bowden, professor of cognitive science at the University of Sussex: New, surprising, and of value. He’s not wrong: this is something new, the AI output is surprising in the sense that no one knows what she’s going to draw, and the drawings are selling."
If you want an expansion of that precis, there is an extract here from her book site.

I have no skin in this game, but I can make observations about past disruptive changes in art.  When that disruption involves a new technology, it immediately creates a situation where humans feel threatened for their personal value and place in society. The rise of the photograph was seen by some artists as the end of painting, but of course it wasn't: in fact  photography was used by painters such as Degas, Zorn, Picasso, Gaugin, Sorolla, Lautrec, Cezanne, and even Van Gogh.   While photography has become more and more automated, and itself has a lot of AI and computational elements that have made the cell phone rival the traditional camera in certain genres, it has not spelt the end of painting, or the use of even film photography - they still have their place and the artists are still seen as talented and of value.  What it has done is augment the range of sources and options for artistic expression.

Of course, all of the above have required some kind of human intervention, if only to point the camera in the right direction, but even that is being usurped by AI in the realms of astrophotography and medical imaging to mention just a couple - yet they can produce surprisingly artistic renderings the people will pay for.  Personally, I don't feel threatened by the technology that Ai-Da is the outrider for, just as I don't feel threatened by cell phones with AI, even as I use my DSLRs and MILCs.  However, I am the first to say that each has to own their own response to this new and powerful development.

This is just the beginning, and like it or not, no-one is going to stop it now, just as no-one stopped the camera or the cell phone.

 

 


cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Tintype_18
Whiz

Interesting reply, Trevor, and thanks for your information. One million dollars in one year creating AI artwork? I'm in the wrong business!

John

To be honest, I think those who bought the artwork will have done well.  The pure uniqueness of the situation - a pioneer android artist - is bound to add value over time.  More androids will follow, and they will likely make better artwork, but this is the first: just like that first same hazy image made by Nicéphore Niépce back in 1826.


cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
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