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ACM Opinion

The Robot Artists Aren’t Coming


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The Ai-Da robot drawing.

Do machines make art?

Credit: Niklas Halle'n/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Many artists are turned off by artificial intelligence. They may be discouraged by fears that A.I., with its efficiency, will take away people's jobs. They may question the ability of machines to be creative. Or they may have a desire to explore A.I.'s uses — but aren't able to decrypt its terminology.

This all reminds me of when people were similarly skeptical of another technology: the camera. In the 19th century, with the advent of modern photography, cameras introduced both challenges and benefits. While some artists embraced the technology, others saw cameras as alien devices that required expertise to operate. Some felt this posed a threat to their jobs.

But for those artists willing to explore cameras as tools in their work, the aesthetic possibilities of photography proved inspiring. Indeed cameras, which became more accessible to the average user with advancements in technology, offered another technique and form for artistic endeavors like portrait-making.

Art matters because as humans, we all have the ability to be creative. With time, the art we create evolves, and technology plays a crucial role in that process. History has shown that photography, as a novel tool and medium, helped revolutionize the way modern artists create works by expanding the idea of what could be considered art. Photography eventually found its way into museums. Today we know that cameras didn't kill art; they simply provided people with another way to express themselves visually.

This analogy is crucial to understanding the potential for artificial intelligence to influence art in this century.

 

From The New York Times
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