01/11/2021
Discussion
Adam Wells
Can Robots Make Art?
Ai-Da had been making waves in the world as the world's first robot artist - but is her work really art?

The modern world is increasingly helped - and to an extent hindered - by the proliferation of AI, from chatbots taking over customer service, to always-listening virtual assistants in homes. The idea, then, that such inventions could be employed in the production of art was perhaps inevitable; enter Ai-Da, described on her own website as ‘the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist’. Upon the unveiling of Ai-Da at 2019’s ‘Unsecured Futures’ show in Oxford, her creator Aidan Meller likened her to the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, though the parallels are nowhere near as exact; while the printing press served as a tool for artists to reproduce uniform artworks, Ai-Da works through a combination of algorithmic learning from exiting artworks and the use of eye-cameras and a bionic hand to interpret her surroundings.

Put bluntly, however, the work produced by Ai-Da is not art by any definition. If we are to take art as an expression of human experience, then the idea that it could be produced by a robot inherently cheapens the very concept of the artist. Artists may be inspired or influenced by their contemporaries and predecessors, with their art standing as a response to them, an entry to the ongoing artistic conversation. Ai-Da’s works are incapable of this, standing instead as reproductions rather than meaningful contributions to the art world, no matter how elegantly they are produced.

Similarly, since Ai-Da’s paintings depend on what she is ‘looking’ at and the artworks which exist within her algorithm, do her paintings depend simply on where she is situated when she creates them? If so, then how could she ever produce anything akin to Dali’s melting clocks, Mondrian’s abstract cubism, or Escher’s distortions of reality? If, as modern thought suggests, art is defined by the viewer’s interpretation, then what separates Ai-Da’s work is the absence of the artist’s own interpretation. In this sense, is the resulting artwork based entirely on audience interpretation with an absence of any artistic intention? Or does the transposition of form and style through algorithmic learning imply a similar transposition of meaning?

While this may seem unduly harsh, it is worth noting that Ai-Da’s creators are aware of the contradictions their project gives rise to, acknowledging on their website that ‘as a machine, with AI capabilities, her artist persona is the artwork’. This consideration of Ai-Da herself as a piece of art is noticeable in any article about her, which are conspicuously illustrated with photos of her not-quite human face rather than her actual artwork. In this sense it doesn’t matter what Ai-Da creates, since the art lies in the act of creation itself rather than the resulting image.

The art world is rife with works that raise questions without necessarily answering them, and Ai-Da certainly fits this mould. As a piece of conceptual art she forces us to consider what even constitutes ‘art’, and encourages a more in-depth investigation into why her work isn’t. While her creators suggest that Ai-Da’s paintings should be considered within a world shifting away from ‘humanism’, this statement betrays a certain lack of scope in their view of modern society, their perception of which is heavily Westernised and wealthier than average.

Where the creators’ statement falls apart, however, is in their assertion that Ai-Da serves as a reminder of historic mistreatment of marginalised groups and ‘the potential for inequality and suffering that is embedded within the use of new technologies’. The means by which Ai-Da creates her work renders this statement somewhat meaningless; since Ai-Da’s algorithm is driven by the art of the past, it offers no respite from any historic inequalities within the art world, instead reproducing and echoing those of the past in favour of making anything truly revolutionary. To assume this isn’t the case is to ignore the exclusionary history of art, and also rests on the (false) supposition that said injustices have been eradicated in the modern day. The project of Ai-Da seems to be so focused on the hypothetical injustices of the future that it fails to consider the actual inequalities of the past - and indeed the present - of the art world.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/11/2021
Discussion
Adam Wells
Can Robots Make Art?
Ai-Da had been making waves in the world as the world's first robot artist - but is her work really art?

The modern world is increasingly helped - and to an extent hindered - by the proliferation of AI, from chatbots taking over customer service, to always-listening virtual assistants in homes. The idea, then, that such inventions could be employed in the production of art was perhaps inevitable; enter Ai-Da, described on her own website as ‘the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist’. Upon the unveiling of Ai-Da at 2019’s ‘Unsecured Futures’ show in Oxford, her creator Aidan Meller likened her to the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, though the parallels are nowhere near as exact; while the printing press served as a tool for artists to reproduce uniform artworks, Ai-Da works through a combination of algorithmic learning from exiting artworks and the use of eye-cameras and a bionic hand to interpret her surroundings.

Put bluntly, however, the work produced by Ai-Da is not art by any definition. If we are to take art as an expression of human experience, then the idea that it could be produced by a robot inherently cheapens the very concept of the artist. Artists may be inspired or influenced by their contemporaries and predecessors, with their art standing as a response to them, an entry to the ongoing artistic conversation. Ai-Da’s works are incapable of this, standing instead as reproductions rather than meaningful contributions to the art world, no matter how elegantly they are produced.

Similarly, since Ai-Da’s paintings depend on what she is ‘looking’ at and the artworks which exist within her algorithm, do her paintings depend simply on where she is situated when she creates them? If so, then how could she ever produce anything akin to Dali’s melting clocks, Mondrian’s abstract cubism, or Escher’s distortions of reality? If, as modern thought suggests, art is defined by the viewer’s interpretation, then what separates Ai-Da’s work is the absence of the artist’s own interpretation. In this sense, is the resulting artwork based entirely on audience interpretation with an absence of any artistic intention? Or does the transposition of form and style through algorithmic learning imply a similar transposition of meaning?

While this may seem unduly harsh, it is worth noting that Ai-Da’s creators are aware of the contradictions their project gives rise to, acknowledging on their website that ‘as a machine, with AI capabilities, her artist persona is the artwork’. This consideration of Ai-Da herself as a piece of art is noticeable in any article about her, which are conspicuously illustrated with photos of her not-quite human face rather than her actual artwork. In this sense it doesn’t matter what Ai-Da creates, since the art lies in the act of creation itself rather than the resulting image.

The art world is rife with works that raise questions without necessarily answering them, and Ai-Da certainly fits this mould. As a piece of conceptual art she forces us to consider what even constitutes ‘art’, and encourages a more in-depth investigation into why her work isn’t. While her creators suggest that Ai-Da’s paintings should be considered within a world shifting away from ‘humanism’, this statement betrays a certain lack of scope in their view of modern society, their perception of which is heavily Westernised and wealthier than average.

Where the creators’ statement falls apart, however, is in their assertion that Ai-Da serves as a reminder of historic mistreatment of marginalised groups and ‘the potential for inequality and suffering that is embedded within the use of new technologies’. The means by which Ai-Da creates her work renders this statement somewhat meaningless; since Ai-Da’s algorithm is driven by the art of the past, it offers no respite from any historic inequalities within the art world, instead reproducing and echoing those of the past in favour of making anything truly revolutionary. To assume this isn’t the case is to ignore the exclusionary history of art, and also rests on the (false) supposition that said injustices have been eradicated in the modern day. The project of Ai-Da seems to be so focused on the hypothetical injustices of the future that it fails to consider the actual inequalities of the past - and indeed the present - of the art world.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/11/2021
Discussion
Adam Wells
Can Robots Make Art?
Ai-Da had been making waves in the world as the world's first robot artist - but is her work really art?

The modern world is increasingly helped - and to an extent hindered - by the proliferation of AI, from chatbots taking over customer service, to always-listening virtual assistants in homes. The idea, then, that such inventions could be employed in the production of art was perhaps inevitable; enter Ai-Da, described on her own website as ‘the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist’. Upon the unveiling of Ai-Da at 2019’s ‘Unsecured Futures’ show in Oxford, her creator Aidan Meller likened her to the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, though the parallels are nowhere near as exact; while the printing press served as a tool for artists to reproduce uniform artworks, Ai-Da works through a combination of algorithmic learning from exiting artworks and the use of eye-cameras and a bionic hand to interpret her surroundings.

Put bluntly, however, the work produced by Ai-Da is not art by any definition. If we are to take art as an expression of human experience, then the idea that it could be produced by a robot inherently cheapens the very concept of the artist. Artists may be inspired or influenced by their contemporaries and predecessors, with their art standing as a response to them, an entry to the ongoing artistic conversation. Ai-Da’s works are incapable of this, standing instead as reproductions rather than meaningful contributions to the art world, no matter how elegantly they are produced.

Similarly, since Ai-Da’s paintings depend on what she is ‘looking’ at and the artworks which exist within her algorithm, do her paintings depend simply on where she is situated when she creates them? If so, then how could she ever produce anything akin to Dali’s melting clocks, Mondrian’s abstract cubism, or Escher’s distortions of reality? If, as modern thought suggests, art is defined by the viewer’s interpretation, then what separates Ai-Da’s work is the absence of the artist’s own interpretation. In this sense, is the resulting artwork based entirely on audience interpretation with an absence of any artistic intention? Or does the transposition of form and style through algorithmic learning imply a similar transposition of meaning?

While this may seem unduly harsh, it is worth noting that Ai-Da’s creators are aware of the contradictions their project gives rise to, acknowledging on their website that ‘as a machine, with AI capabilities, her artist persona is the artwork’. This consideration of Ai-Da herself as a piece of art is noticeable in any article about her, which are conspicuously illustrated with photos of her not-quite human face rather than her actual artwork. In this sense it doesn’t matter what Ai-Da creates, since the art lies in the act of creation itself rather than the resulting image.

The art world is rife with works that raise questions without necessarily answering them, and Ai-Da certainly fits this mould. As a piece of conceptual art she forces us to consider what even constitutes ‘art’, and encourages a more in-depth investigation into why her work isn’t. While her creators suggest that Ai-Da’s paintings should be considered within a world shifting away from ‘humanism’, this statement betrays a certain lack of scope in their view of modern society, their perception of which is heavily Westernised and wealthier than average.

Where the creators’ statement falls apart, however, is in their assertion that Ai-Da serves as a reminder of historic mistreatment of marginalised groups and ‘the potential for inequality and suffering that is embedded within the use of new technologies’. The means by which Ai-Da creates her work renders this statement somewhat meaningless; since Ai-Da’s algorithm is driven by the art of the past, it offers no respite from any historic inequalities within the art world, instead reproducing and echoing those of the past in favour of making anything truly revolutionary. To assume this isn’t the case is to ignore the exclusionary history of art, and also rests on the (false) supposition that said injustices have been eradicated in the modern day. The project of Ai-Da seems to be so focused on the hypothetical injustices of the future that it fails to consider the actual inequalities of the past - and indeed the present - of the art world.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/11/2021
Discussion
Adam Wells
Can Robots Make Art?
Ai-Da had been making waves in the world as the world's first robot artist - but is her work really art?

The modern world is increasingly helped - and to an extent hindered - by the proliferation of AI, from chatbots taking over customer service, to always-listening virtual assistants in homes. The idea, then, that such inventions could be employed in the production of art was perhaps inevitable; enter Ai-Da, described on her own website as ‘the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist’. Upon the unveiling of Ai-Da at 2019’s ‘Unsecured Futures’ show in Oxford, her creator Aidan Meller likened her to the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, though the parallels are nowhere near as exact; while the printing press served as a tool for artists to reproduce uniform artworks, Ai-Da works through a combination of algorithmic learning from exiting artworks and the use of eye-cameras and a bionic hand to interpret her surroundings.

Put bluntly, however, the work produced by Ai-Da is not art by any definition. If we are to take art as an expression of human experience, then the idea that it could be produced by a robot inherently cheapens the very concept of the artist. Artists may be inspired or influenced by their contemporaries and predecessors, with their art standing as a response to them, an entry to the ongoing artistic conversation. Ai-Da’s works are incapable of this, standing instead as reproductions rather than meaningful contributions to the art world, no matter how elegantly they are produced.

Similarly, since Ai-Da’s paintings depend on what she is ‘looking’ at and the artworks which exist within her algorithm, do her paintings depend simply on where she is situated when she creates them? If so, then how could she ever produce anything akin to Dali’s melting clocks, Mondrian’s abstract cubism, or Escher’s distortions of reality? If, as modern thought suggests, art is defined by the viewer’s interpretation, then what separates Ai-Da’s work is the absence of the artist’s own interpretation. In this sense, is the resulting artwork based entirely on audience interpretation with an absence of any artistic intention? Or does the transposition of form and style through algorithmic learning imply a similar transposition of meaning?

While this may seem unduly harsh, it is worth noting that Ai-Da’s creators are aware of the contradictions their project gives rise to, acknowledging on their website that ‘as a machine, with AI capabilities, her artist persona is the artwork’. This consideration of Ai-Da herself as a piece of art is noticeable in any article about her, which are conspicuously illustrated with photos of her not-quite human face rather than her actual artwork. In this sense it doesn’t matter what Ai-Da creates, since the art lies in the act of creation itself rather than the resulting image.

The art world is rife with works that raise questions without necessarily answering them, and Ai-Da certainly fits this mould. As a piece of conceptual art she forces us to consider what even constitutes ‘art’, and encourages a more in-depth investigation into why her work isn’t. While her creators suggest that Ai-Da’s paintings should be considered within a world shifting away from ‘humanism’, this statement betrays a certain lack of scope in their view of modern society, their perception of which is heavily Westernised and wealthier than average.

Where the creators’ statement falls apart, however, is in their assertion that Ai-Da serves as a reminder of historic mistreatment of marginalised groups and ‘the potential for inequality and suffering that is embedded within the use of new technologies’. The means by which Ai-Da creates her work renders this statement somewhat meaningless; since Ai-Da’s algorithm is driven by the art of the past, it offers no respite from any historic inequalities within the art world, instead reproducing and echoing those of the past in favour of making anything truly revolutionary. To assume this isn’t the case is to ignore the exclusionary history of art, and also rests on the (false) supposition that said injustices have been eradicated in the modern day. The project of Ai-Da seems to be so focused on the hypothetical injustices of the future that it fails to consider the actual inequalities of the past - and indeed the present - of the art world.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/11/2021
Discussion
Adam Wells
Can Robots Make Art?
Ai-Da had been making waves in the world as the world's first robot artist - but is her work really art?

The modern world is increasingly helped - and to an extent hindered - by the proliferation of AI, from chatbots taking over customer service, to always-listening virtual assistants in homes. The idea, then, that such inventions could be employed in the production of art was perhaps inevitable; enter Ai-Da, described on her own website as ‘the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist’. Upon the unveiling of Ai-Da at 2019’s ‘Unsecured Futures’ show in Oxford, her creator Aidan Meller likened her to the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, though the parallels are nowhere near as exact; while the printing press served as a tool for artists to reproduce uniform artworks, Ai-Da works through a combination of algorithmic learning from exiting artworks and the use of eye-cameras and a bionic hand to interpret her surroundings.

Put bluntly, however, the work produced by Ai-Da is not art by any definition. If we are to take art as an expression of human experience, then the idea that it could be produced by a robot inherently cheapens the very concept of the artist. Artists may be inspired or influenced by their contemporaries and predecessors, with their art standing as a response to them, an entry to the ongoing artistic conversation. Ai-Da’s works are incapable of this, standing instead as reproductions rather than meaningful contributions to the art world, no matter how elegantly they are produced.

Similarly, since Ai-Da’s paintings depend on what she is ‘looking’ at and the artworks which exist within her algorithm, do her paintings depend simply on where she is situated when she creates them? If so, then how could she ever produce anything akin to Dali’s melting clocks, Mondrian’s abstract cubism, or Escher’s distortions of reality? If, as modern thought suggests, art is defined by the viewer’s interpretation, then what separates Ai-Da’s work is the absence of the artist’s own interpretation. In this sense, is the resulting artwork based entirely on audience interpretation with an absence of any artistic intention? Or does the transposition of form and style through algorithmic learning imply a similar transposition of meaning?

While this may seem unduly harsh, it is worth noting that Ai-Da’s creators are aware of the contradictions their project gives rise to, acknowledging on their website that ‘as a machine, with AI capabilities, her artist persona is the artwork’. This consideration of Ai-Da herself as a piece of art is noticeable in any article about her, which are conspicuously illustrated with photos of her not-quite human face rather than her actual artwork. In this sense it doesn’t matter what Ai-Da creates, since the art lies in the act of creation itself rather than the resulting image.

The art world is rife with works that raise questions without necessarily answering them, and Ai-Da certainly fits this mould. As a piece of conceptual art she forces us to consider what even constitutes ‘art’, and encourages a more in-depth investigation into why her work isn’t. While her creators suggest that Ai-Da’s paintings should be considered within a world shifting away from ‘humanism’, this statement betrays a certain lack of scope in their view of modern society, their perception of which is heavily Westernised and wealthier than average.

Where the creators’ statement falls apart, however, is in their assertion that Ai-Da serves as a reminder of historic mistreatment of marginalised groups and ‘the potential for inequality and suffering that is embedded within the use of new technologies’. The means by which Ai-Da creates her work renders this statement somewhat meaningless; since Ai-Da’s algorithm is driven by the art of the past, it offers no respite from any historic inequalities within the art world, instead reproducing and echoing those of the past in favour of making anything truly revolutionary. To assume this isn’t the case is to ignore the exclusionary history of art, and also rests on the (false) supposition that said injustices have been eradicated in the modern day. The project of Ai-Da seems to be so focused on the hypothetical injustices of the future that it fails to consider the actual inequalities of the past - and indeed the present - of the art world.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/11/2021
Discussion
Adam Wells
Can Robots Make Art?

The modern world is increasingly helped - and to an extent hindered - by the proliferation of AI, from chatbots taking over customer service, to always-listening virtual assistants in homes. The idea, then, that such inventions could be employed in the production of art was perhaps inevitable; enter Ai-Da, described on her own website as ‘the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist’. Upon the unveiling of Ai-Da at 2019’s ‘Unsecured Futures’ show in Oxford, her creator Aidan Meller likened her to the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, though the parallels are nowhere near as exact; while the printing press served as a tool for artists to reproduce uniform artworks, Ai-Da works through a combination of algorithmic learning from exiting artworks and the use of eye-cameras and a bionic hand to interpret her surroundings.

Put bluntly, however, the work produced by Ai-Da is not art by any definition. If we are to take art as an expression of human experience, then the idea that it could be produced by a robot inherently cheapens the very concept of the artist. Artists may be inspired or influenced by their contemporaries and predecessors, with their art standing as a response to them, an entry to the ongoing artistic conversation. Ai-Da’s works are incapable of this, standing instead as reproductions rather than meaningful contributions to the art world, no matter how elegantly they are produced.

Similarly, since Ai-Da’s paintings depend on what she is ‘looking’ at and the artworks which exist within her algorithm, do her paintings depend simply on where she is situated when she creates them? If so, then how could she ever produce anything akin to Dali’s melting clocks, Mondrian’s abstract cubism, or Escher’s distortions of reality? If, as modern thought suggests, art is defined by the viewer’s interpretation, then what separates Ai-Da’s work is the absence of the artist’s own interpretation. In this sense, is the resulting artwork based entirely on audience interpretation with an absence of any artistic intention? Or does the transposition of form and style through algorithmic learning imply a similar transposition of meaning?

While this may seem unduly harsh, it is worth noting that Ai-Da’s creators are aware of the contradictions their project gives rise to, acknowledging on their website that ‘as a machine, with AI capabilities, her artist persona is the artwork’. This consideration of Ai-Da herself as a piece of art is noticeable in any article about her, which are conspicuously illustrated with photos of her not-quite human face rather than her actual artwork. In this sense it doesn’t matter what Ai-Da creates, since the art lies in the act of creation itself rather than the resulting image.

The art world is rife with works that raise questions without necessarily answering them, and Ai-Da certainly fits this mould. As a piece of conceptual art she forces us to consider what even constitutes ‘art’, and encourages a more in-depth investigation into why her work isn’t. While her creators suggest that Ai-Da’s paintings should be considered within a world shifting away from ‘humanism’, this statement betrays a certain lack of scope in their view of modern society, their perception of which is heavily Westernised and wealthier than average.

Where the creators’ statement falls apart, however, is in their assertion that Ai-Da serves as a reminder of historic mistreatment of marginalised groups and ‘the potential for inequality and suffering that is embedded within the use of new technologies’. The means by which Ai-Da creates her work renders this statement somewhat meaningless; since Ai-Da’s algorithm is driven by the art of the past, it offers no respite from any historic inequalities within the art world, instead reproducing and echoing those of the past in favour of making anything truly revolutionary. To assume this isn’t the case is to ignore the exclusionary history of art, and also rests on the (false) supposition that said injustices have been eradicated in the modern day. The project of Ai-Da seems to be so focused on the hypothetical injustices of the future that it fails to consider the actual inequalities of the past - and indeed the present - of the art world.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/11/2021
Discussion
Adam Wells
Can Robots Make Art?
Ai-Da had been making waves in the world as the world's first robot artist - but is her work really art?

The modern world is increasingly helped - and to an extent hindered - by the proliferation of AI, from chatbots taking over customer service, to always-listening virtual assistants in homes. The idea, then, that such inventions could be employed in the production of art was perhaps inevitable; enter Ai-Da, described on her own website as ‘the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist’. Upon the unveiling of Ai-Da at 2019’s ‘Unsecured Futures’ show in Oxford, her creator Aidan Meller likened her to the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, though the parallels are nowhere near as exact; while the printing press served as a tool for artists to reproduce uniform artworks, Ai-Da works through a combination of algorithmic learning from exiting artworks and the use of eye-cameras and a bionic hand to interpret her surroundings.

Put bluntly, however, the work produced by Ai-Da is not art by any definition. If we are to take art as an expression of human experience, then the idea that it could be produced by a robot inherently cheapens the very concept of the artist. Artists may be inspired or influenced by their contemporaries and predecessors, with their art standing as a response to them, an entry to the ongoing artistic conversation. Ai-Da’s works are incapable of this, standing instead as reproductions rather than meaningful contributions to the art world, no matter how elegantly they are produced.

Similarly, since Ai-Da’s paintings depend on what she is ‘looking’ at and the artworks which exist within her algorithm, do her paintings depend simply on where she is situated when she creates them? If so, then how could she ever produce anything akin to Dali’s melting clocks, Mondrian’s abstract cubism, or Escher’s distortions of reality? If, as modern thought suggests, art is defined by the viewer’s interpretation, then what separates Ai-Da’s work is the absence of the artist’s own interpretation. In this sense, is the resulting artwork based entirely on audience interpretation with an absence of any artistic intention? Or does the transposition of form and style through algorithmic learning imply a similar transposition of meaning?

While this may seem unduly harsh, it is worth noting that Ai-Da’s creators are aware of the contradictions their project gives rise to, acknowledging on their website that ‘as a machine, with AI capabilities, her artist persona is the artwork’. This consideration of Ai-Da herself as a piece of art is noticeable in any article about her, which are conspicuously illustrated with photos of her not-quite human face rather than her actual artwork. In this sense it doesn’t matter what Ai-Da creates, since the art lies in the act of creation itself rather than the resulting image.

The art world is rife with works that raise questions without necessarily answering them, and Ai-Da certainly fits this mould. As a piece of conceptual art she forces us to consider what even constitutes ‘art’, and encourages a more in-depth investigation into why her work isn’t. While her creators suggest that Ai-Da’s paintings should be considered within a world shifting away from ‘humanism’, this statement betrays a certain lack of scope in their view of modern society, their perception of which is heavily Westernised and wealthier than average.

Where the creators’ statement falls apart, however, is in their assertion that Ai-Da serves as a reminder of historic mistreatment of marginalised groups and ‘the potential for inequality and suffering that is embedded within the use of new technologies’. The means by which Ai-Da creates her work renders this statement somewhat meaningless; since Ai-Da’s algorithm is driven by the art of the past, it offers no respite from any historic inequalities within the art world, instead reproducing and echoing those of the past in favour of making anything truly revolutionary. To assume this isn’t the case is to ignore the exclusionary history of art, and also rests on the (false) supposition that said injustices have been eradicated in the modern day. The project of Ai-Da seems to be so focused on the hypothetical injustices of the future that it fails to consider the actual inequalities of the past - and indeed the present - of the art world.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/11/2021
Discussion
Adam Wells
Can Robots Make Art?
Ai-Da had been making waves in the world as the world's first robot artist - but is her work really art?

The modern world is increasingly helped - and to an extent hindered - by the proliferation of AI, from chatbots taking over customer service, to always-listening virtual assistants in homes. The idea, then, that such inventions could be employed in the production of art was perhaps inevitable; enter Ai-Da, described on her own website as ‘the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist’. Upon the unveiling of Ai-Da at 2019’s ‘Unsecured Futures’ show in Oxford, her creator Aidan Meller likened her to the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, though the parallels are nowhere near as exact; while the printing press served as a tool for artists to reproduce uniform artworks, Ai-Da works through a combination of algorithmic learning from exiting artworks and the use of eye-cameras and a bionic hand to interpret her surroundings.

Put bluntly, however, the work produced by Ai-Da is not art by any definition. If we are to take art as an expression of human experience, then the idea that it could be produced by a robot inherently cheapens the very concept of the artist. Artists may be inspired or influenced by their contemporaries and predecessors, with their art standing as a response to them, an entry to the ongoing artistic conversation. Ai-Da’s works are incapable of this, standing instead as reproductions rather than meaningful contributions to the art world, no matter how elegantly they are produced.

Similarly, since Ai-Da’s paintings depend on what she is ‘looking’ at and the artworks which exist within her algorithm, do her paintings depend simply on where she is situated when she creates them? If so, then how could she ever produce anything akin to Dali’s melting clocks, Mondrian’s abstract cubism, or Escher’s distortions of reality? If, as modern thought suggests, art is defined by the viewer’s interpretation, then what separates Ai-Da’s work is the absence of the artist’s own interpretation. In this sense, is the resulting artwork based entirely on audience interpretation with an absence of any artistic intention? Or does the transposition of form and style through algorithmic learning imply a similar transposition of meaning?

While this may seem unduly harsh, it is worth noting that Ai-Da’s creators are aware of the contradictions their project gives rise to, acknowledging on their website that ‘as a machine, with AI capabilities, her artist persona is the artwork’. This consideration of Ai-Da herself as a piece of art is noticeable in any article about her, which are conspicuously illustrated with photos of her not-quite human face rather than her actual artwork. In this sense it doesn’t matter what Ai-Da creates, since the art lies in the act of creation itself rather than the resulting image.

The art world is rife with works that raise questions without necessarily answering them, and Ai-Da certainly fits this mould. As a piece of conceptual art she forces us to consider what even constitutes ‘art’, and encourages a more in-depth investigation into why her work isn’t. While her creators suggest that Ai-Da’s paintings should be considered within a world shifting away from ‘humanism’, this statement betrays a certain lack of scope in their view of modern society, their perception of which is heavily Westernised and wealthier than average.

Where the creators’ statement falls apart, however, is in their assertion that Ai-Da serves as a reminder of historic mistreatment of marginalised groups and ‘the potential for inequality and suffering that is embedded within the use of new technologies’. The means by which Ai-Da creates her work renders this statement somewhat meaningless; since Ai-Da’s algorithm is driven by the art of the past, it offers no respite from any historic inequalities within the art world, instead reproducing and echoing those of the past in favour of making anything truly revolutionary. To assume this isn’t the case is to ignore the exclusionary history of art, and also rests on the (false) supposition that said injustices have been eradicated in the modern day. The project of Ai-Da seems to be so focused on the hypothetical injustices of the future that it fails to consider the actual inequalities of the past - and indeed the present - of the art world.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/11/2021
Discussion
Adam Wells
Can Robots Make Art?
Ai-Da had been making waves in the world as the world's first robot artist - but is her work really art?

The modern world is increasingly helped - and to an extent hindered - by the proliferation of AI, from chatbots taking over customer service, to always-listening virtual assistants in homes. The idea, then, that such inventions could be employed in the production of art was perhaps inevitable; enter Ai-Da, described on her own website as ‘the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist’. Upon the unveiling of Ai-Da at 2019’s ‘Unsecured Futures’ show in Oxford, her creator Aidan Meller likened her to the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, though the parallels are nowhere near as exact; while the printing press served as a tool for artists to reproduce uniform artworks, Ai-Da works through a combination of algorithmic learning from exiting artworks and the use of eye-cameras and a bionic hand to interpret her surroundings.

Put bluntly, however, the work produced by Ai-Da is not art by any definition. If we are to take art as an expression of human experience, then the idea that it could be produced by a robot inherently cheapens the very concept of the artist. Artists may be inspired or influenced by their contemporaries and predecessors, with their art standing as a response to them, an entry to the ongoing artistic conversation. Ai-Da’s works are incapable of this, standing instead as reproductions rather than meaningful contributions to the art world, no matter how elegantly they are produced.

Similarly, since Ai-Da’s paintings depend on what she is ‘looking’ at and the artworks which exist within her algorithm, do her paintings depend simply on where she is situated when she creates them? If so, then how could she ever produce anything akin to Dali’s melting clocks, Mondrian’s abstract cubism, or Escher’s distortions of reality? If, as modern thought suggests, art is defined by the viewer’s interpretation, then what separates Ai-Da’s work is the absence of the artist’s own interpretation. In this sense, is the resulting artwork based entirely on audience interpretation with an absence of any artistic intention? Or does the transposition of form and style through algorithmic learning imply a similar transposition of meaning?

While this may seem unduly harsh, it is worth noting that Ai-Da’s creators are aware of the contradictions their project gives rise to, acknowledging on their website that ‘as a machine, with AI capabilities, her artist persona is the artwork’. This consideration of Ai-Da herself as a piece of art is noticeable in any article about her, which are conspicuously illustrated with photos of her not-quite human face rather than her actual artwork. In this sense it doesn’t matter what Ai-Da creates, since the art lies in the act of creation itself rather than the resulting image.

The art world is rife with works that raise questions without necessarily answering them, and Ai-Da certainly fits this mould. As a piece of conceptual art she forces us to consider what even constitutes ‘art’, and encourages a more in-depth investigation into why her work isn’t. While her creators suggest that Ai-Da’s paintings should be considered within a world shifting away from ‘humanism’, this statement betrays a certain lack of scope in their view of modern society, their perception of which is heavily Westernised and wealthier than average.

Where the creators’ statement falls apart, however, is in their assertion that Ai-Da serves as a reminder of historic mistreatment of marginalised groups and ‘the potential for inequality and suffering that is embedded within the use of new technologies’. The means by which Ai-Da creates her work renders this statement somewhat meaningless; since Ai-Da’s algorithm is driven by the art of the past, it offers no respite from any historic inequalities within the art world, instead reproducing and echoing those of the past in favour of making anything truly revolutionary. To assume this isn’t the case is to ignore the exclusionary history of art, and also rests on the (false) supposition that said injustices have been eradicated in the modern day. The project of Ai-Da seems to be so focused on the hypothetical injustices of the future that it fails to consider the actual inequalities of the past - and indeed the present - of the art world.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/11/2021
Discussion
Adam Wells
Can Robots Make Art?
Ai-Da had been making waves in the world as the world's first robot artist - but is her work really art?

The modern world is increasingly helped - and to an extent hindered - by the proliferation of AI, from chatbots taking over customer service, to always-listening virtual assistants in homes. The idea, then, that such inventions could be employed in the production of art was perhaps inevitable; enter Ai-Da, described on her own website as ‘the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist’. Upon the unveiling of Ai-Da at 2019’s ‘Unsecured Futures’ show in Oxford, her creator Aidan Meller likened her to the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, though the parallels are nowhere near as exact; while the printing press served as a tool for artists to reproduce uniform artworks, Ai-Da works through a combination of algorithmic learning from exiting artworks and the use of eye-cameras and a bionic hand to interpret her surroundings.

Put bluntly, however, the work produced by Ai-Da is not art by any definition. If we are to take art as an expression of human experience, then the idea that it could be produced by a robot inherently cheapens the very concept of the artist. Artists may be inspired or influenced by their contemporaries and predecessors, with their art standing as a response to them, an entry to the ongoing artistic conversation. Ai-Da’s works are incapable of this, standing instead as reproductions rather than meaningful contributions to the art world, no matter how elegantly they are produced.

Similarly, since Ai-Da’s paintings depend on what she is ‘looking’ at and the artworks which exist within her algorithm, do her paintings depend simply on where she is situated when she creates them? If so, then how could she ever produce anything akin to Dali’s melting clocks, Mondrian’s abstract cubism, or Escher’s distortions of reality? If, as modern thought suggests, art is defined by the viewer’s interpretation, then what separates Ai-Da’s work is the absence of the artist’s own interpretation. In this sense, is the resulting artwork based entirely on audience interpretation with an absence of any artistic intention? Or does the transposition of form and style through algorithmic learning imply a similar transposition of meaning?

While this may seem unduly harsh, it is worth noting that Ai-Da’s creators are aware of the contradictions their project gives rise to, acknowledging on their website that ‘as a machine, with AI capabilities, her artist persona is the artwork’. This consideration of Ai-Da herself as a piece of art is noticeable in any article about her, which are conspicuously illustrated with photos of her not-quite human face rather than her actual artwork. In this sense it doesn’t matter what Ai-Da creates, since the art lies in the act of creation itself rather than the resulting image.

The art world is rife with works that raise questions without necessarily answering them, and Ai-Da certainly fits this mould. As a piece of conceptual art she forces us to consider what even constitutes ‘art’, and encourages a more in-depth investigation into why her work isn’t. While her creators suggest that Ai-Da’s paintings should be considered within a world shifting away from ‘humanism’, this statement betrays a certain lack of scope in their view of modern society, their perception of which is heavily Westernised and wealthier than average.

Where the creators’ statement falls apart, however, is in their assertion that Ai-Da serves as a reminder of historic mistreatment of marginalised groups and ‘the potential for inequality and suffering that is embedded within the use of new technologies’. The means by which Ai-Da creates her work renders this statement somewhat meaningless; since Ai-Da’s algorithm is driven by the art of the past, it offers no respite from any historic inequalities within the art world, instead reproducing and echoing those of the past in favour of making anything truly revolutionary. To assume this isn’t the case is to ignore the exclusionary history of art, and also rests on the (false) supposition that said injustices have been eradicated in the modern day. The project of Ai-Da seems to be so focused on the hypothetical injustices of the future that it fails to consider the actual inequalities of the past - and indeed the present - of the art world.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
Thanks For Reading
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.