Machine learning creates professional level photographs

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by movingfinger, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    The biggest obstacle to AI and machine creativity are the stiffs at NASA sitting on all that alien technology.
  2. Leo, let me start by saying I've never been much of an advocate for AI, so it would probably serve our conversation well if you discussed it with me as if you weren't responding to AI evangelists. Not being an advocate or evangelist doesn't mean I can't recognize some of AI's more interesting possibilities.

    I don't draw a distinction between the physical and intellectual. The intellectual IS physical, as is the emotional and consciousness.

    One of the things I love about art is its artificiality, which does not require that something living be given the credit for making it.
    I hope you know this is not what we're talking about. There's a difference between someone using a machine to materialize art they've created or are creating, like typing a novel that's been handwritten or typing one as you're creating it, and someone programming a machine so that it can generate calculations far beyond what that human might even be able to imagine, thereby creating art of its own. This also addresses your statement that there's a strong sense that the programmer is artist. For example, only because someone makes a violin can Joshua Bell play the violin and usually because someone else composed music can Joshua Bell perform it (he occasionally improvises), and yet even though Bell is not the starting point, I consider him an artist. The fact that the composer is also an artist and many might consider some of the great violin makers to be artists (let's not go back to the craftsman/artist debate) doesn't mean Bell is not an artist as well.

    Much art takes collaboration to be made, from theater to dance to string quartets. When we refer to Joshua Bell as an artist, however, we usually don't feel the need to qualify it by saying, "but Beethoven and Stradivarius are the initiating artists behind Bell."

    It's only killer if you already pre-assign to art the need for intention. Up to a point in history, all art had intention. Now, because of AI, it doesn't have to be the product of an intentional being. Again, that's what's exciting about it. I would imagine that, during the Renaissance, people would have said that declaring a found object like a toilet to be art wouldn't make it or the declaration of it art (I think there are still some today who would say that, just as some would say a Rothko isn't art for whatever restrictive reason they might choose to give . . . that people disagree on this or that thing being art is nothing new, especially when this or that new kind of art is introduced) and they would have given reasons based on history.

    It's the lack of intentionality by the machine, which goes well beyond the imagination of the programmer on its own once the programmer has programmed it, that would be one of the fascinating and challenging aspects of art produced by an AI system. In particular cases, and perhaps even many, I would have no problem also calling the programmers artists because, as I said above, much art often requires more than one artist. I love the idea of art as collaboration, so multiple artists being responsible for something appeals to me greatly.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  3. Come to think of it, film is a computer. A different kind of programmer, called a chemist, made film, and the images it generated certainly differed from those made by people, in fact changed people's visual understanding. Also, there's the same amount of learning going on in film as there is in machine learning.
  4. Except it's not. Cute, though. ;-)
  5. "It's only killer if you already pre-assign to art the need for intention."

    I think I do, yeah. In this case the intentional agent would be the computer scientist. What if, say, a computer generated original works to rival those of Shakespeare? Well I would change my mind then. But we're going to need a radically different kind of computer before that happens. Seriously.
  6. "Except it's not."

    Semantics. It's an analog computer/device/whathaveyou. By receiving light (information) from an object, it provides a measurable response that's analogous, or correlated, to the object.
  7. There are few Shakespeares, so I don't make him my standard for art. I like many artists who make local names for themselves working in small studios in bad neighborhoods in the city I live in, though rents are starting to force them out. I doubt these artists will make history books, but they make art and have impact. Whether an AI computer will ever rival Shakespeare is an open question, and a different question from whether it can make art.
  8. Art is just a proxy word for me in this discussion. When I say (half-seriously) only artists will have jobs in the future, I don't mean designated artists, TBH I mean the easiest things we do are going to be the hardest to mechanize. As in you don't need any special knowledge to be an artist, like you do to become a doctor or accountant say.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  9. I think AI machines are qualitatively different enough from other machines we know. I don't know or care whether we will call what they do "conceiving." What I do care about is that what they do will be very different from what machines have traditionally done. The last paragraph of questions to me is just theoretical mind-numbing naval gazing which I don't need to get mired in in order to see as art what an AI machine might produce.
  10. Artists make art and viewers see it. I don't think anyone has questioned that. But I'm glad you are able to point out the importance of seeing.

    All art requires seeing, or hearing, or thinking, or something, to be experienced. It doesn't require that to be made. I know that because, now, AI computers will make art that they don't see but viewers do.
  11. So what the hell are you arguing about? It's that you're trying to justify calling Joe Schmo down the street who's painting a canvas an artist and not calling an AI machine whose art may be way more significant to humankind an artist. Be my guest.
  12. I want to point out the synergy aspect of art. Art is what's left after taking inventory of the physical ingredients of an artifact. We make special meaning out of a collection of dots and lines, but outside our realm of consciousness, it's still a collection of dots and lines, the sum of its ingredients. I have no doubt, AI machines can make some very exquisite artistic artifacts and I am very curious to see them and know what a machine can find that I may have missed. However, ... here is my however, I think human beings are still needed to give those artifacts that special meaning, the synergy of ingredients, at which point, art is born, IMO. By born, I don't mean physical creation, the artifact very well could have existed before, but thinking of it with a conscious mind to be something more than the sum of its ingredients is the magic that brings art out of its cocoon (IMO of course). In that sense, AI produced art has to be a collaboration between man and machine, and no single entity can take full credit of it.
  13. I am just thinking, machines can do it more effortlessly.

    When I read Phil's and Fred's comments, apparently, the point of conflict is in the semantics, but in the context of further comments, the conflict seems to be deeper extending to the pride or superiority of humans. I do believe Phil is objectively thinking and not trying to glorify the superiority of man over machines. At the same time, I believe when Fred is saying machines make art, he is actually implying humans are using machines to make art. He is not giving machines any undue credit.

    My own take is this, the very concept of art is intricately linked to human psyche, so art will evolve as our collective psychology evolves over time. There will continue to be new ways of looking at things, free of historic biases and morality. Check out this link: >Barter and Art- Can a new movement shake up London’s commercial art world

    , so there is huge potential for AI guided art in future. Machines can show us new ways to see and think, the same way scientific models and computations lead to predictions that are counter intuitive or prohibitively complex. There is no question of inferiority or superiority here. Its what machines are expected to do, make things that humans can't with their bare hands or minds. At the same time, it would be the human imperative to connect with that art. In my opinion, art is also intricately linked to making connections with memories, thoughts, lives, history. The AI machine can judge certain artistic merits based on aesthetic rules or patterns, and some advanced versions of it may detect even more complex merits based on emotions and humor, but the machine stops there. We explore on.
  14. Supriyo, when a writer uses a typewriter to type his novel, a human is using a machine as an aid in making art. I'm not talking about humans using machines to make art. This seems so simple to me. I'm honestly not sure where the misunderstanding is coming in. I'm saying an AI machine will make art. Really I am!
  15. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Ah, but will it appreciate the result!
  16. Fred, I don't presume to tell what you mean in your statements, so, sorry about that. I saw your example of machine making belt buckles and doing general calculations and comparing that to art making. So I thought, you meant humans are using the AI machine to make art, because those examples really are of humans using machines, even when people use the term 'machine made'.

    i think I understand your point of not diminishing the role of the AI machine to simply an aid or a tool in art making, and I agree with that. I am more open to thinking AI based art as a collaboration between machine and human, rather than thinking one or the other made it. On one hand, the machine is doing the heavy lifting, on the other hand, humans designed the machine, pushed the button and selected the results. So, they both seem to have stake in the final outcome.

    It is argumentative, if humans design and build a machine and that machine creates something, whether it's the machine which made it, or the human, and I will rest with that thought.
  17. And yet I think most people think there's a fairly important difference between owning something that's "man-made" vs. something that's "machine-made." We think of man-made items as being more unique, more crafted, less conveyor belt oriented. That's because we understand the DIFFERENCE IN KIND between the role of humans in making something themselves vs.the role of humans in making something with a machine.

    With AI, I'm suggesting there's an even greater difference between the role of the human in programming the machine that makes art vs.actually making the art first-hand or directly. There's a distance between the programmer and the eventual result or product of the AI system whereby, though the programmer initiates a process, the process then really becomes so beyond the capability of humans. Even though we program a machine to do them, we couldn't possibly do some computer calculations as fast as machines. I think it's perfectly reasonable, then, to distinguish between calculations that humans make and calculations that machines make.

    Now, getting back to man-made belt buckles being more unique and often more valued than machine-made buckles. I think AI-made art has a unique kind of value because of that distance between programmer and end product I mentioned. I get why some people are stuck and put-off thinking an AI-made work of art would be soulless. But I'm saying it's precisely that soullessness that becomes special here. I think the AI-made art forces a shift in thinking not unlike the shift caused by the readymade put on display by Duchamp. In a way, readymades forced us to find art in something that, up to then, would have been thought of as soulless. I think there's more of a distance between the human touch of a painting and the human touch of a urinal placed in a museum. Yet, we came to experience the significance of accepting that object-urinal as art. Now, machines are able to take us to the next level of that, a more extremely "distant connection" which I find exciting because of its almost oxymoronic nature.

  18. Yes, aka the soul. And what art is.

    "As Spinoza contended, there is something deeply soulful in the manner in which the material world unfolds in its many modalities. A face has the potential to become a landscape. Life fills with memories in a glimpse of an eye. Things are what they are. But how can we ever be sure, as Spinoza asked, that we have fully grasped the potential of their being? This is not so much a doubt as a declaration of love for the depth of what touches you in life." — Jan Verwoert
  19. I think this obsession with the soul is an anachronistic and mindless dependency. To me, chalking art up to soul is just plain lazy. It's just substituting one word you can't put your finger on for another word you can't put your finger on and thinking you've discovered some sort of secret or have found the essence of art because "soul" is such an essential term. All it's doing is punting.

    I think "soul" is a particularly unseemly concept when it's used as a false idol. The mountains and rivers don't have a soul, so man has dominion over them. Machines don't have souls, so they can't possibly make art. Spare me the anthropocentrism.

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