The Overlap of Artificial Intelligence and Art
I am very interested in what can be considered art for artificial intelligence.
And in a more general way, what is intelligence?
Can an A.I. do art?
P.S. I wrote this article as well for a magazine I co-edited and co-founded, called “Cybertales” which is here: https://www.cybertalesmag.com/
The definition according to Merriam Webster is, “the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations: reason also: the skilled use of reason.”
A word that causes a lot of controversy and is often used in completely different contexts than it should probably be used in. We also have an interesting way of measuring intelligence, the Intelligent Quotient, more commonly known as IQ. IQ is simply someone’s mental age divided by someone’s age at a certain time. So much is defined by this quotient, and it is something we hold in really high regard. Why though? I, myself was also obsessed with my IQ for a while. Almost as if a high IQ would provide me with some sort of security that I was intelligent and that was all that matters. But what really is an IQ? Does it matter? And how do we judge intelligence in itself? If you have a high IQ can we judge if you will be a genius from a creative aspect such as in making music, films, or writing novels? Why are we so obsessed with geniuses and wanting to be intelligent? But more so in creating an objective way to judge intelligence such as IQ, which has repeatedly been proven not to be a great predictor of actual intelligence but is often specific to certain cultures and certain people.
How can we judge people like Mozart and Kendrick Lamar when exploring IQ? Or people like Kurosawa or Claire Denis? People who I personally deem to be geniuses in fields that are more creative.
The definition of the word creative is “having the quality of something created rather than imitated: imaginative the creative arts creative writing.”
With the rise of Artificial Intelligence what happens to fields that are often thought to be the most human? Intelligence used to be reduced to simple ways such as IQ levels. However, IQ levels for example have routinely shown to be inadequate representations of intelligence. We know that IQ tests have been utilized to push ethnic minorities and the poorer people further into the margins, nevertheless, we continue to put them on a pedestal.
While thinking about AI and creativity, I stumbled upon Sean Dorrance Kelly’s article in MIT Tech Review where he gives many arguments on why AI cannot be creative in the musical sense. The first is that being creative profoundly different from what has come before. This is what pushes creativity forward. Further, he goes along to state that for something to be deemed creative, is for us to compare it to pre-existing standards of creativity. As such, creativity in music is deemed creative by society. What we as a collective deem to be creative.
I started thinking about this a lot. In this manner, AI will simply become just another tool for musicians to use such as the piano or the guitar. However, as I continued to explore this space I found songs which are created by AI. I found myself listening to a song called “Magic Man” by SKYGGE. While listening to this song, I decided to dive into this topic with a more futuristic approach. Kelly states that something can be creative if it can be proven to us, that society deems it so, and he also states that the current computational paradigms of AI such as deep learning cannot move us to an AI that we deem creative. However, he ends by asking, “how many people today have jobs that require them to follow a predetermined script for their conversations?” This is the question that I will focus on here. That society is changing to ultimately deem AI a creative force, rather than AI changing to be creative in our eyes.
Let us imagine a future world. I will not go into the world’s standing or anything of that matter besides how it pertains to the topic at hand.
Art and AI
In the future, current prospects assume that upwards of 50% of our current jobs will be made obsolete, and in turn, there will be many new jobs to accommodate the new world we will be living in. One that Professor Max Tegmark calls “Life 3.0”. In this world where many jobs are obsolete, what has happened to art? What has happened to the creative fields? Jobs there also had to change due to Artificial Intelligence.
Let’s say take music as an example. In 2021, we already have music that is created by Artificial Intelligence. Assume that this music grows in stature. Artificial intelligence can put out more songs than humans can, but it’s slow going, listeners would rather listen to music that they know comes from humans. So AI takes a back seat.
As time passes, a new generation of music listeners is born, and they begin to listen to music. They listen to music they hear around them played by their parents and other family and friends. We can assume that that generation is still listening to music and has a preference for music made by humans. However, the kids also hear other music, this music is created by our AI, and who knows maybe it’s good. And so, one generation begins to enjoy it.
As we continue to explore these generations and as time passes, does the preference that people have for music created by AI continue to grow? Are musicians set to the side? We can also assume that concerts and festivals have undergone a massive change. They are no longer what we think them to be. Now it’s the year 2200, nine generations later from when we started this thought experiment.
Are people still listening to music created by humans or have they moved on? Do they care about the human presence behind their songs?
In fact, they did not grow up listening to music created by humans but rather music created by AI. The record labels have a different life here. Rather than competing for the various musicians and trying to support them, just like in other fields, the jobs there have changed. Programmers are making sure the algorithm is running correctly. Musicians are only part of the program. Brought in when the song or the album is done, to make sure it just sounds good because they still need a musician’s ear. They come in to sing the song which is written by AI.
What then? Is that what their job has been reduced to, the ear and voice of the algorithm? Some may say that in itself may even be a tad too optimistic.
And even where we find human involvement, is the most exciting story simply telling it as an AI-created art piece? In 2018, a painting was sold at Christie’s which was said to be created entirely by AI created by a French company Obvious. However, as we know that is obviously far simpler than the truth which is that many human hands were behind its innovation. Is that just a simpler story for us to tell? A better story? A more interesting story? We tend to anthropomorphise not only technology but often also animals when we put our thoughts and actions onto them. How do we stop that when we no longer care about the humans behind the creativity?
The fact is that when we ask people now if they would trust themselves more than a self-driving car, they often side with themselves over an AI that they cannot connect with. It is not human enough. So what happens when it becomes human enough? This is a problem that many Autonomous Vehicle companies find themselves confronting. Many Americans state that they are hesitant ever to trust an autonomous vehicle fully.
Thus what happens to our future Mozart’s? Our future Kurosawa’s? Our future Denis’s. Or do they all become like Obvious and SKYGGE? To be fair, “Magic Man” is actually quite good.