Innovative technologies are redefining the entire spectrum of how a variety of art forms are created and perceived. From the invention of multi-track recording to the much-debated use of auto-tune, technology has always had a massive impact in the field of music. However, recent inventions and creativity have led to a melange of visual arts and technology as well. The relationship between these entities incorporates instances where technology aides in creating art pieces, such as digital drawing pads, and examples where technology itself is the art, such as the ‘Assemblance’ which is a laser art showcase by London-based software and design company Umbrellium. “As visitors walk through smoke and coloured laser beams, they create structures and drawings with light.” Technology, thus, is helping art pieces become more interactive too. Although these technological applications have enabled artists to experiment with their creativity in fresh playgrounds, a new player is completely changing the rules of the game and its name is AI.
Britannica Encyclopaedia defines AI, or Artificial Intelligence, as “the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.” AI is all the buzz in tech circles these days. It is the sector where most software engineers aspire to be, and why not? Advancements in the field of AI are bringing humanity closer to a self-aware technological system – one which can potentially automate most of our everyday tasks. In the field of education, AI-based tutors are meeting the needs of the ever-growing student body. Governments such as China and Singapore have incorporated AI in their mass surveillance system to aid facial recognition and track criminals. AI has had astounding impacts in the area of healthcare, from companion robots for the elder and using simulations for medical training to AI-aided analysis of medical images and other physiological reports. Because of its wide range of applications, it is natural to observe the emerging influence of AI in the world of art as well. Essentially, with the help of Artificial Intelligence, a massive dataset of existing art pieces (paintings/songs/movies) are used as samples and processed through a specific algorithm, generating a whole new piece(s) of art.
The results have been both inspiring and astonishing. Take, for example, the first pop song ever to be created entirely by AI. ‘Daddy’s Car’ was launched in 2016 by researchers at Sony, who used “the company’s Flow Machines software to analyse a database of some 13,000 lead sheets from different genres around the world”. The researchers took the help of musician Benoit Carré to choose a desired style, input sample phrases for the lyrics, and master the track. Carré decided the song to be in the style of The Beatles and the software, using its specific algorithms, did the rest of the work. The resulting song sounded eerily similar to a song by The Beatles. Another prominent example from the field of visual arts is a painting that was put up for auction in 2018. Portrait of Edmond Belamy is the brainchild of ‘Obvious’, a Paris-based art collective. 15,000 images of portraits from different periods were processed through an algorithm created by the artists which gave birth to a painting which could easily pass off as man-made and which was auctioned off for an extraordinary $432,500. For the first time in history, humanity was forced to ponder whether the next Picasso or Da Vinci is residing inside the circuit board of some computer.
It is important to note that AI is not a genie entirely, one that grants the wishes of the unskilled and the untalented. Scientists and artists collaborate and spend days, if not weeks, developing the algorithms which can efficiently produce remarkable art pieces indistinguishable from the ones created by humans. Moreover, even though AI is creating art on its own, it is also working alongside plenty of different artists in unique ways. British choreographer Wayne McGregor is using AI to explore the vast possibilities of human movement. Collaborating with Google Arts and Culture Lab, McGregor uploaded thousands of hours of his dance videos in an AI tool, which learnt his dance style with all its extremities and fine, subtle nuances. After processing hours of McGregor’s movement, the tool now generates original movements which are used by McGregor and his disciples to create even more appealing and fluidic dance movements. AI works as the apprentice in this scenario and not the master.
Ever since the onset of AI-based art, several artists and activists have presented their disapproval of this form. Many believe that due to further advancements in this field, the existence of human artists will come under the scythe. Others believe that such a notion is an underestimation of human capability and creativity, and the reception from the audience. As the old saying goes, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Hence, every individual response to an art piece is completely unique. Human art results from a storm of emotions and feelings, and creativity does not have any fixed parameters. It is believed that although a machine can create something new based on existing samples, one cannot program a tool to develop an intent for creativity. In that sense, humans will always be a step ahead of AI. The aim of human artists should be to use this latest technology and fuel their creativity even more. While AI can process tens of thousands of samples in a matter of minutes and crunch them into a single art piece, humans can create thousands of art pieces rooting from a single idea or thought, and therein lies our creativity.
– Shashwat Jha
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 James Vincent, “This AI-written Pop Song Is Almost Certainly a Dire Warning For humanity,” The Verge, September 26, 2016, |PAGE|, https://www.theverge.com/2016/9/26/13055938/ai-pop-song-daddys-car-sony).
 “Artificial Intelligence Timeline [UPDATED 2020],” AIArtists.org, |PAGE|, https://aiartists.org/ai-timeline-art).
 “Wayne McGregor – Artist Profile (Photos, Videos, Exhibitions),” AIArtists.org, |PAGE|, https://aiartists.org/wayne-mcgregor).
 Ken Weiner, “Can AI Create True Art?” Scientific American Blog Network, November 12, 2018, |PAGE|, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/can-ai-create-true-art/).