Episode #13: Can Robots Make Art?

Is art solely a human pursuit? Darien and Toby seek to answer this question by inviting former potter and current lead technologist Peter Kaizer to join the discussion. Peter shares his own experiences producing art and technology, and talks about the close link between these two fields. Toby asks whether a robot can produce art with a soul, and Darien just wonders whether robot art will actually sell.


Literary reference: Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

Seminal glass artist Dale Chihuly who led the movement from glass work as a craft into glass working as a fine art https://www.chihuly.com/

Article about the artist who built the "Chuck Close Filter" and how imitation was not perceived as a sincere form of flattery: https://www.wired.com/2012/07/artist-who-builds-chuck-close-filter-gets-slammed-by-chuck-close/ 

Netflix is using predictive data analytics to make production decisions https://www.salon.com/2013/02/01/how_netflix_is_turning_viewers_into_puppets/

“For years Netflix has been analyzing what we watched last night to suggest movies or TV shows that we might like to watch tomorrow. Now it is using the same formula to prefabricate its own programming to fit what it thinks we will like. Isn't the inevitable result of this that the creative impulse gets channeled into a pre-built canal?”

So is Amazon, with somewhat less success with Alpha Househttps://tv.avclub.com/amazon-studios-first-tv-efforts-try-to-be-everything-t-1798178833

Peter Kaizer's artistic inspiration, and seminal Japanese potter Shoji Hamada, was open about the function of his studio as being a group enterprise, with many of his students producing his pottery: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sh%C5%8Dji_Hamada  

But the tradition of a great artist managing a studio of artists that may end up producing work that is confused for the master's isn't new. 

"REMBRANDT’S studio in Amsterdam was one of the biggest and busiest art enterprises of the 17th century, drawing dozens of pupils and charging serious tuition fees. But it was not, in some respects, the most organized. Scholars suspect that drawings by Rembrandt’s pupils were routinely mixed in with their teacher’s work in albums that entered the marketplace."

AI-generated screenplay produced by Ross Goodwin, which took other Sci Fi screenplays and used them as the source for the machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY7x2Ihqjmc

Researchers have used “Creative Adversarial Networks” which are now generating art that is more original than just reproductions by viewing past work and then ““maximizing deviation from established styles and minimizing deviation from art distribution,”  https://futurism.com/ai-now-produce-better-art-humans-heres-how/

“…human subjects could not distinguish art generated by the proposed system from art generated by contemporary artists and shown in top art fairs. Human subjects even rated the generated images higher on various scales.

So far, however, perhaps the only "unique" art that robots have produced is Cryptokitties: https://www.cryptokitties.co/