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(MINI)THROWBACK THURSDAY – REVISITING AI IN THE ART WORLD

November 8, 2018

By STEVE WHITTINGTON, CFA

Last month, we ran a blog series on Artificial Intelligence, and its effect on several industries.  In the first installment of that series, we discussed Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the art world, with some questions of what would happen if (or when) these generated pieces of art reached a pool of serious art collectors.  Well, the gentleman I interviewed for that piece, Mr. Matt Kendall, recently forwarded me THIS, and it appears that an AI-generated piece was sold at the reputable auction house Christie’s.  A piece of this kind had never been sold at that price, and for Christie’s it was the first piece ever sold generated by an algorithm.

Of course, the article attempts to explain AI as a tool, something that assists a “real” artist in the creation of a piece of art.  As one person explains it, algorithms “…don’t have free will.”

Something interesting to me from the article is the additional concept of a Generative Adverarial Network, or a GAN.  A GAN is something that actually can create a new result from existing data, which, to me, sounds like an autonomous (while maybe not quiet sentient) being.  More likely, as the article suggests though, the work between the algorithm and the human consortium that programmed it are more in symbiosis than anything, when it comes to the “credit” claimed for producing the piece.

Still, for a work of art to be sold at that price, in a reputable transaction via Christie’s, makes you wonder if the art world is ready, and eager, to purchase works of art of this kind in the future.  Sometimes art appreciation (from a collector’s point of view) is the search for the exotic, and perhaps art produced by RoboVanGogh is something that will really catch on in the future.

I wonder what the algorithm does with its cut of the money… buy itself some better software?

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