AI is everywhere, but is it having an impact on art?


AI and art seem to represent two different worlds: technology and humanity. A closer examination reveals that they are intimately linked. Humans create technology, after all, so the two go hand in hand. AI follows a long technological tradition that dates back to the cradle of civilization. Mankind has always sought to improve its condition by using technology.

An exhibition opening on November 5e at the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden, Germany, explores this topic. Curator Yasemin Keskintepe believes AI is more of an opportunity than a threat. IO spoke to her to find out more about the exhibit and how she comes to that conclusion.

How did the idea for this exhibition come about?

“AI is a hot topic. The exhibition deals with the effects of artificial intelligence. It asks the question: where do we want to use this technology and where do we draw the line?

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A “new” song by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of artificial intelligence.
Lyrics for “Hot Tub Christmas” co-written by a language model and OpenAI researchers from the Jukebox project

How do you see the link between art and artificial intelligence?

“The exhibition raises questions. What is art? Can artificial intelligence be creative? What about fatherhood? These are all questions that have been debated in recent years. What about an AI generated composition or image. Is this art? What is the creative process behind this? How is this different from the human creative process?

There is considerable debate about this. Some people say that systems that learn from patterns of the past and produce something in the same style have little to do with creativity because they don’t produce anything new. But you could also argue that we humans also learn from the past and are inspired by other sources. “

Art not only builds on the past, but also has outliers.

“Exactly. AI allows people to see things from a different perspective or to recombine things that they would not have seen that way before. I find this process fascinating: the interplay between what humans do. are good and what AI is good at.

AI systems are tools that can do one thing very well and execute it very well, but not transfer it to other things. Only humans can do it. AI can help us humans shift our gaze to patterns we might not have seen in data before. “

AI is also used to write music. Is this the end of the composition? Is this theme also part of the exhibition?

“The exhibition presents different examples of what is already possible with AI, including musical composition. We are working with Open AI, an American research laboratory, and their Jukebox project. Visitors can log in and listen to an array of songs generated by the AI ​​systems.

But here the question arises: is it creativity? Can the AI ​​take something another performer has done and generate an awesome new pop song? This is an open question. You can watch it anyway. AI can certainly give us great models to turn it into a work of art.

Has AI influenced the development of art in the past?

“Technological progress and art have always gone hand in hand. Artists of all ages have always been quick to examine the scientific results of research and use these new technological developments as tools for their practice. It’s no different with AI.

How far back does artificial intelligence go?

“The concept of artificial intelligence did not emerge until 1956, but the idea of ​​what we understand or associate with AI today dates back to ancient times. The desire for intelligent machines, machines that do our work for us or give us answers to life’s questions has always been present. Ten manuscripts are exhibited by scientists from Antiquity to the 20th century showing the first ideas of artificial intelligence.

One example is a sketch by Ismael al Jazari of what is now Middle Ages Baghdad showing his design for a hand washing machine. Another example is the Leibniz binary system which is the basis of any computer system. The exhibition also addresses the question of the social impact of AI, for example through assistance systems in our domestic environment.

We show an interesting case study of a person named Mr. Eifler who developed a system to support her long-term memory, which she lost. They keep a diary and film different sequences of their life and use the system to help them connect the diary and the videos.

What is the role of the artists who exhibit?

“Artists create an impressive visual world. Through contextualization, they manage to present the topic in a very exciting way and open up new perspectives.

Some people are a little afraid of artificial intelligence. Could this exhibition serve to allay those fears?

“I really hope so, precisely because we are addressing and presenting the basics of how technology works to eliminate some of these fears. This is not witchcraft! The technology consists of a few components, data and algorithms.

We currently only have a weak AI, which is still used in a very clearly and narrowly defined area of ​​application. He still has a long way to go before he has the full cognitive capacity of a human. It still belongs to the realm of science fiction.

The German Museum of Hygiene looks back on an illustrious and colorful past. Launched in 1912, it served as a hub to disseminate what were then basic hygiene concepts on the themes of water sanitation, personal hygiene and health. During the Third Reich, the Nazis instrumentalised the institution to propagate its official views on eugenics and racial theory. The firebombing of Dresden during World War II destroyed the museum. It reopened with a new unique mission: to cover the interaction of man with his environment in a multidisciplinary way.

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About Oscar L. Smith

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