The Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has been setting its footprints in arts and though its involvement can be said as in the preliminary stages, the future seems exciting. At a time when arts and creative professions were thought the exclusive territories of the human mind, the AI has intruded, much to the chagrin of some. The arrival of AI in the art industry or profession is viewed, understandably, with suspicion and insecurity. However, AI can potentially change the art industry by complementing the artist, improving productivity and output and expediting creation. Currently, however, the AI technology is largely executing the ideas while the artists continue to produce ideas. However, there are instances when technology has been able to compose poems and songs on its own though the quality can be debated. Already there are apps and websites like Google DeepDream which can create artistic works based on human inputs.
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AI and the Art industry
It cannot yet be claimed that AI has been redefining the Arts industry, but several exploits can be cited that point to a definite entry of AI in the Arts industry. Basically, many artists have been accepting the AI offerings and making their products — music, poems, songs or artwork — even better. In the instances where art has embraced AI, it has been a complementary agreement where the artist ideates while the AI executes. The sections below mention three such instances:
- In November 2017, Kaiji Moriyama, a famous dancer, played the piano without placing finger even a single time on the piano. The audience were mesmerized as Moriayama danced and the piano played, complementing the dance moves. It was amazing that a musical instrument anticipated, matched steps and played the appropriate notes. Sensors attached to Moriyama’s back made the amazing event possible.
- In 2017, an expo on design and innovation was held in Toronto. In the expo, architects had a large and intricate glasswork, shaped like a nerve cell, not only suspend in the air but also respond to movements by human beings. The glasswork was hosted in an old, abandoned soap factory. The audience at the expo were mesmerized as the artwork responded to different movements by the audience by changing its light patterns and surround sound. The amazing exercise was made possible by AI.
- Microsoft’s AI Bot allows you to input a written description of an art and produces an artwork based on the description. For example, if you need the image of a tiger running through a forest, just write a description and let the bot take it from there. It seems the bot recognizes the words and maps them with images to put them together eventually.
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How AI is influencing the Artists?
AI in the arts industry, at its current state, can at best complement the artists’ efforts while the future, to be honest, is unknown. To do this, AI uses the machine learning technology. AI is given related datasets based on which it expected to identify patterns and produce its output. At its current stage, AI is not able to produce something stunning and complex but something that complements the artists’ works. Take for example the AutoDraw, an AI algorithm developed by Google. AutoDraw can produce an artwork based on the sketches made by the artist. It works based on the Autocomplete principle – it guesses, based on the sketches or outline by the artist, the desired output and offers artwork options. Make no mistake, the output quality is good enough. It can be safely said that artists such as music composers, painters or poets can rely on AI to produce a basic output which can be extended or consolidated.
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Is it amazing?
The quality of output produced by various AI applications has been amazing. What amazes is the speed and accuracy of production. AI has been bringing the good old technology principles of speed, efficiency and precision to art. There are many examples that can be cited to support the argument.
In an art exhibition in London, in 2017, a group of plastic spheres mesmerized the audience. The plastic spheres would move, dip and lift in groups or individually in the space and respond as the audience made various movements like clapping, lifting arms or jumping. The audience felt amazed and acknowledged the intelligent responses shown by the spheres. The spheres as if mimicked human movements. This was made possible by AI.
Another example is the Google Art & Culture app. Basically, the app finds similarities between your face and that of a celebrity. It is available in select museums now. Visitors to the museum can take their selfies using the app and it calculates the similarity. When it finds matches, it places the pictures of the visitors and the celebrity side by side and gives the percentage of similarity, similar features and other details. Visitors can also share the result on social media.
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What lies in the future?
First, it is important to acknowledge that AI has progressed to a certain stage in terms of creating artwork. AI is driven by the Machine Learning technology which is given data and it creates its own algorithm by learning from varied data and identifying patterns. You can say that it is trying to mimic what the human brain does – imagining visuals or compositions and putting them into a certain form. But it still does not think like the human brain which is why it still complements artists and does not usually create fantastic artwork independently. The next stage is to be able to create independently but that seems quite a distance to travel. AI is still an overhyped technology.
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AI is clearly not placed to overtake or replace artists and will not be soon. Much of the publicity and drum-beating is hype. But its role in complementing the artist and its nous in creating amazing digital art must not be undervalued. It is improving efficiency, accuracy and productivity which is important for the artist.