AI poised to impact art market with auction

AI poised to impact art market with auction

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making inroads into the fields of art, poetry and cinema in a bigger way than before. Notably, AI is poised to make a mark next month at an auction of artworks. The larger question, however, is whether AI will eventually wipe out the existence of artists and humans in other fields. However, the creators of one of the AIs used for artworks say AI is just a tool, which can be used creatively by artists. They say like photography, AI is a new tool, allowing maximisation of the creative potential of humans.

For the first time ever, British auction house Christie’s plans to auction paintings made by AI along with paintings made by humans in a sale of artworks from October 23 to 25.

This artwork created by AI is titled ‘Portrait of Edmond Belamy’. The 70-by-70 cm print on canvas is the work of an algorithm created by Obvious, a French collective of ‘friends, artists, and researchers,’ according to the group’s website To produce the AI-generated portrait, the collective used an AI model known as a generative adversarial network (GAN). GANs analyse thousands of images, learn from their features, and are trained to create new images that are undistinguishable from the original data source.

According to Obvious, even with the same inputs, the algorithm will each time render a different result, which is similar to human creativity.
According to artnet News, the artists fed a GAN a dataset of 15,000 portraits dating between the 14th and 20th centuries. It then created new works based on the training set until it was able to fool a test designed to distinguish whether an image was made by human or machine.
According to artnet, the resulting work, titled Portrait of Edmond de Belamy, depicts a man in a dark coat and white collar with indecipherable facial features.

Obvious claims a new movement is forming: GANism. In contemporary art, the artist has always been at the centre of the work and the tool is a way for him to express emotions. For the first time, the tool is closer to the centre of the work, and the artist takes a step back, even though the artist behind the algorithm remains the ‘real’ artist. This approach is likely to result in the appearance of a new type of art, Obvious claims.

Obvious points out that the reaction to AI-generated art is the same as the reaction to photography in the 1850s. Photography did not wipe out art, but gave rise to artist photographers. There was a burst of creativity due to the democratisation of this tool.

“If AI succeeds at doing the same thing, AI artists will become very common in the near future. At the moment, managing those tools requires rare and expensive skills, but we can imagine that tomorrow these skills will be widely spread across the population, and that softwares will be developed to facilitate access to it,” says Obvious.

Portrait of Edmond de Belamy is one of 11 portraits of the fictional Belamy family, which is named after Ian Goodfellow, the AI researcher who invented the GAN method in 2014. (Goodfellow roughly translates to the French bel ami.) 

Another portrait from the family, Le Comte de Belamy, was sold to Parisian collector Nicolas Laugero-Lassere earlier this year for $12,000. “I just find it amazing that some young people built a program allowing the creation of an original artwork, based on a selection of the ‘bests’ from past art history,” Laugero-Lasserre told artnet News. He is open to buying another art work made by AI.

Obvious told that although they are not the first to engineer 
AI-produced artworks, nothing has previously been good enough to be sold. The legitimisation of AI-made work on the market, they believe, is a sign of the dawn of a new artistic movement.

Changing the silver screen too
According to nvidia developer, Arraiy, a California-based start-up, is building an AI system that can generate and manipulate images in real time such as changing the type of car, colour and lighting features of a scene.

Arraiy’s real-time tracking solution was utilised by the studio The Mill, showcasing the creative opportunities of virtual production.
“High-end film production is incredibly complex, time-consuming and expensive to create,” the start-up said in a press release. “We are building an AI-based production workflow to simplify the production process and enable content creators to deliver top-tier visuals for significantly lower costs,” Arraiy said in a press note. 

- Can you tell Shakespeare from AI?
In 2015, computer scientist Andrej Karpathy used artificial intelligence to generate Shakespearean-style text, with some convincing results.

- Take these two lines for example: Are they by Shakespeare or AI?
O, if you were a feeble sight, the courtesy of your law,
Your sight and several breath, will wear the gods.

- website has the answer. For the answer and the quiz, log on with the shortcut:

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