The cellist Jan Vogler famously claimed that art is what makes us human. But what if machines start making art too?
Here’s an example of a piece of art made by an artificial intelligence (AI):
A bit of art: A computer trained with images of graffiti produces its own art by spraying water onto concrete. The exhibit, titled About a Theory of ‘Graffiti’, was created by the artist yang02 and shown at the Artificial Intelligence Art and Aesthetics Exhibition in Okinawa this year.Courtesy of the Artificial Intelligence Art and Aesthetics Research Group
On the right side of the picture is a computer running an AI that has been trained with images of graffiti. It controls a plotting head that sprays water onto concrete blocks, on the left. The resulting patterns are a form of computer-generated art.
Is this fine art in the true sense? If it is, we would need to confront the possibility that some part of our humanity-the part that Vogler was referring to-has been captured by machines. The fact is, however, that while the output of the machine may be artistic, it is not making fine art.
When art is made to satisfy the needs of a third…