AI Art Sells in Auction; Tech Experts Debate AI Ideas at Literature Event

Artificial Intelligence may have a long way to go when it comes to the creative arts, but recent events show that at least visually and in the literary realm, it’s already having an impact.

AI-generated images might be considered cheating when it comes to art, but collectors didn’t seem to mind when Christie’s auctioned the art generated by a computer. Now Sotheby’s of London will do the same with art generated on screens under the programming of Mario Klingemann, a German computer scientist/artist, according to a story in Bloomberg.

Entitled “Memories of Passersby I,” Klingemann’s auction debut is made up of an AI “brain” that beams an endless stream of images of distorted faces onto two screens, the result of algorithms. Blurry faces come into focus, though none of the people portrayed ever existed,” according to the Bloomberg story.

Computer-generated art is nothing new, but the concept of creating “new” faces without the intervention of a graphical artist is groundbreaking.

Artificial Unintelligence

AI and computers have inspired writers to create fictional worlds in which computers are companions (R2D2 and C3PO in “Star Wars”), enemies (Hal in “2001: A Space Odyssey”), and human-like (“Blade Runner,” the film, or the short story, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”).

A literature festival in Jaipur, India recently explored the role of AI in literature, from the killing machines in the “Terminator” movie to the reality that AI has a long way to go to have any intent at all.

“Scientists work within the envelope of the dreams that writers tell us,” said Walsh, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) professor, stating that the world is now waking up to the ideas that science fictions writers like Isaac Asimov had explored over 50 years go, according to a story by CNBC.

The Jaipur Literature Festival experts concluded that “incompetence” is the most alarming aspect of AI.

Data journalism professor Meredith Broussard said computers are limited to executing what they are programmed to do, making it likely they would reflect the racist, sexist and social and economic inequalities in the existing world. The author of “Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World,”  Broussard was skeptical about how well driverless cars will perform and related an incident in which she was almost killed by one. She noted that the image recognition algorithms can be easily “defeated,” causing accidents.