AI News, BOOK REVIEW: A New Robot Questions How Creative AI and Machines Can Be
This Robot Artist Just Became the First to Stage a Solo Exhibition. What Does That Say About Creativity?
Using academic Margaret Boden’s philosophical definition of creativity as something that is new, surprising and of value, art dealer and leader of the Ai-Da project Aidan Meller believes Ai-Da’s output meets these criteria.
Manufactured by a team of engineers specializing in robots with human-like features and using algorithms developed by scientists at Oxford University, Ai-Da captures images in front of her with a camera in her eye.
Researchers at Oxford University plot the coordinates from her drawing onto a Cartesian plane (a graph), and run them through an AI neural network, a computing system modelled on the human brain.
“The potential for technology to augment the human potential for creativity, to expand the achievable horizons of creative expression and to possess its own creative potential as an entity of its own is so fascinating and exciting,”
Also on show at the exhibition are pencil sketches of Alan Turing, the famed pioneer of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, and Karel Čapek, the Czech writer who coined the term “robot,”
Monitor screens around the exhibition show Ai-Da reciting poetry that has been created by rearranging the work of incarcerated writers of the 20th century exploring the pain and suffering of imprisonment, like Oscar Wilde and Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Last year, Christie’s New York auctioned an AI-generated work in the first sale of its kind at a major auction house, and since 2006, British computer scientist Simon Colton has been developing creative graphics software to turn digital photographs into works of art.
Indeed, one art critic appeared to be so smitten by Ai-Da’s lips and her eyes that he lamented not being able to write his phone number on her metallic robotic hand.
As an example of AI pushing the human boundaries of creativity and helping us to discover new things, Du Sautoy cites the Continuator, a musical instrument trained to respond to users.
In 2012, French jazz musician Bernard Lubat improvised with the Continuator, which was trained in his style of musicianship, leaving audiences unable to distinguish the difference between the machine and the musician.
“The really fascinating thing is that Lubak said when he was improvising with the AI, it was doing things he had never thought of doing with his musical soundscape, and was pushing him to develop ideas that would have taken him years to develop,”
Indeed, early photographers were seen more as inventors or pioneers of the cumbersome, mechanical process used to capture images in the late 19th century.
Ai-Da’s creators hope that this exhibition is just the start, and eventually want her to create her own brushwork paintings and artwork that humans physically cannot complete, such as highly complex and detailed canvas work.
Artificial intelligence-enhanced journalism offers a glimpse of the future of the knowledgeeconomy
Much as robots have transformed entire swaths of the manufacturing economy, artificial intelligence and automation are now changing information work, letting humans offload cognitive labor to computers.
In journalism, for instance, data mining systems alert reporters to potential news stories, while newsbots offer new ways for audiences to explore information.
Some estimates suggest that current levels of AI technology could automate only about 15% of a reporter’s job and 9% of an editor’s job.
Reporting, listening, responding and pushing back, negotiating with sources, and then having the creativity to put it together – AI can do none of these indispensable journalistic tasks.
But developing it took a ton of work, both editorial and technical: Editors had to figure out what to tag and whether the algorithms were up to the task, then develop new test data sets to evaluate performance.
Stuart Myles, the AP executive who oversees the project, told me it took about 36 person-months of work, spread over a couple of years and more than a dozen editorial, technical and administrative staff.
The system relies on a stable of six journalists who find government data sets tabulated by geographic area, identify interesting and newsworthy angles, and then develop those ideas into data-driven templates.
4 THEN text = “minor earthquake.” Tools like Arria also contain linguistic functionality to automatically conjugate verbs or decline nouns, making it easier to work with bits of text that need to change based on data.
For instance, template writers need to approach a story with an understanding of what the available data could say – to imagine how the data could give rise to different angles and stories, and delineate the logic to drive those variations.
It’s almost like the work a team of software engineers might do in debugging a script – and it’s all work humans must do, to ensure the automation is doing its job accurately.
As these new jobs evolve, it will be important to ensure they’re good jobs – that people don’t just become cogs in a much larger machine process.
But I’m optimistic that focusing on the human experience in these systems will allow journalists to flourish, and society to reap the rewards of speed, breadth of coverage and increased quality that AI and automation can offer.
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- On 20. oktober 2021
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