From the mythical golden robots of Hephaestus to director Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise movies, humans have always speculated about AI. Reality, however, is more colourful and surprising than what human creatives imagined. AI now has artists and creative machines who displays skills from painting to poetry. And some of their work is very good.
1. Jarring poetry, machine-made
A research team comprising of scientists from Microsoft and Kyoto University fed thousands of images, together with man-made descriptions and poetry to an AI.
The expectation was that the AI would be able to create a poem that could pass for a human poem. They taught the machine associations between images and text, plus imagery and poetic language.
The result was that the AI was able to write poems that match the image it is given. As for the quality of the poems – some were nonsensical, while others could pass for human poetry.
A poem written by AI:
The sun is a beautiful thing
in silence is drawn
between the trees
only the beginning of light
A Japanese researcher named Hitoshi Matsubara and his team selected a group of words and sentences, together with some parameters, before asking the AI to ‘write’ the novel. The AI produced a work that could pass the first round of screening for a national literary award in Japan.
The book is aptly called The Day a Computer Writes a Novel. It was good enough to fool the judges at Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award. One judge called described the book as ‘well-structured but having problems with character descriptions’.
3. Robo – rap
Scientists in Aalto University, Finland have created a software call DeepBeat, which can write rap lyrics on user demand. It uses existing songs and beats to create new raps. Users can suggest a word or a beat and the AI will create a rap.
Similarly, A seventeen-year-old in West Virginia has created an AI which could first mimic Kanye West. Now it is capable of creating original raps on it own.
4. AI at London Symphony Orchestra
An AI created piece of music, named Transits – into an Abyss, was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra in 2012. The classical music piece was written by a group of computers in the University of Malaga in Spain. It was the first ever computer-written music piece performed by elite musicians. The composition drew positive reviews.
Later, an album called Iamus was created with the work of the AI named the same. It is the first complete album composed solely by a computer and recorded by humans. Stephen Smoliar, a classical music critic, commented that the music of Iamus was capable of challenging human musicians.
5. AI art to be auctioned
In October this year, Christie’s Auction House will have a sale that will include Portrait of Edmond Belamy, a 70 x 70 cm print on canvas. The creator of this is an algorithm made by a group in France, who call themselves Obvious.
This is the world’s first instance of AI art being sold alongside the man-made artwork. There are already predictions that this could be a major step in gaining legitimacy for AI art.
It is clear that AI renaissance machines would go on with their creative work. Their work has already managed to be indistinguishable from human art and sometimes nearly surpassed human art. One day, we might be reading best-sellers and listening to billboard hot 100s, created by AI.
Kasun is a freelance writer by profession. He is based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. When he is not writing, he acts, runs and keeps learning new things.