Imagine a world where a new type of art exists. A world where Music and Art is created by artificial intelligence. This world is very much becoming a reality. I won’t get into ethics of AI; whether it will take our jobs or eventually lead to our demise (I’ll leave that for another time). What I want to explore is whether computers are capable of creating art. Is art even art if you take out the humanity from it?
Artificial intelligence can be divided into two types of learning; Deep Learning and Reinforcement learning. Deep learning uses massive amounts of computing power to create complex neural networks. When Deep Learning is used with art, it is done so by pairing two neural networks: a generator, which produces images, and a discriminator, which judges the paintings. The discriminator can scan through centuries of art in mere seconds. The end result is usually similar to something that already exists.
The second type of learning, Reinforcement learning, gives a detailed goal and allows the AI to find its own way and improve its performance without being given any explicit instructions. A good example of reinforcement learning is playing a level in a video game. There is more than one way to reach the end of the level. Just like in this scenario, the AI will try to reach the end of the level, learning and improving along the way. In regards to art, it allows the AI to create without using outline of established styles. The results are usually more unique.
Aiva Technologies is one of the leading startups in the field of AI music composition. Its Aiva AI uses Deep Learning to compose completely original music. It does so listening to about 15,000 pieces of music and using the information to create a model for a song.
So can AI create original artwork? It’s possible, yes. But the results are still completely oriented around what we as humans consider to be art. The thing that makes art amazing is the fact that it was made by person like you and I. While I don’t see AI artist taking over the art world, I do see the potential of it acting as a collaborator. Helping us reach our creative ambitions.