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Robot-artists cannot simply be brushed off

The graffiti may be on the wall for human artists as Ai-rtists refine their skills.

ET Bureau|
Jun 08, 2019, 08.55 AM IST
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This sounds like a scientific deconstruction of that ephemeral thing called artistic talent.
This sounds like a scientific deconstruction of that ephemeral thing called artistic talent.
An exhibition of works by a humanoid robot ‘artist’ named Ai-Da opens next week in Oxford, and she has already shown off her talent by making stunningly accurate pencil sketches of people just going by what her camera-eyes see.

Some would aver that the graffiti is on the wall, therefore, for thousands of her human counterparts who make a living off a similar talent. Surely not if art is more than just a precise replication of reality? Ai-Da can probably dash off a picture-perfect copy of the Mona Lisa but can she capture that same mysterious smile on another actual person’s face while sketching?

If — or most probably, when — robot-artists show they can pull that off too, then the only recourse left for human artists may be to focus on abstract works, where the ‘creative process’ counts more.

One robot art enthusiast wrote last year that his recent artist-robots use “deep learning, artificial intelligence, generative algorithms and computational creativity to make a surprising amount of independent aesthetic decisions”.


This sounds like a scientific deconstruction of that ephemeral thing called artistic talent. The people who have given the inputs, technical and artistic, that led to the development of artistrobots like Ai-Da must be commended: making something that leads to the creators’ own obsolescence requires courage.


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