This artist is truly one-of-a-kind, but for a very unusual reason: "he" isn’t human! Actually, AARON is the world’s first cybernetic artist, an artificially intelligent system that paints original art. AARON exists because of the efforts of one man: Professor Harold Cohen, a painter who became interested in computer science. Cohen spent 40 years of his life “teaching” AARON to paint by modeling the decisions made by an experienced artist. For example, in the same way a person can learn how the human body is structured, or how a plant grows, so can a computer.
You can see AARON at work in the photo under the painting. in addition to creating its own artwork, AARON mixes its own paints and even washes its own brushes!
Here's the interesting question: even though AARON can draw and paint really well, can a computer actually be creative? Some people involved in the artificial intelligence community say yes, because when people view AARON’s work they feel emotions. But Cohen doesn’t agree. “Having a brain and having a life are two different things,” he says. In other words, our experiences as humans fuel our creativity.
Others are intrigued by this very same question. In 2001, Simon Colton a Professor of Computational Creativity in London, created graphics software called the Painting Fool, which he claims possesses creative abilities. His hope was that “one day it would taken seriously as a creative artist in its own right.” For that to happen, Colton believes the program needs to exhibit behaviors “that can genuinely be called skillful, appreciative and imaginative." He is working toward that goal. In fact, The Painting Fool has recently been producing sculptures, animations and even poetry!
What do you think? Can artificial intelligence be creative…or is creativity something only flesh-and-blood humans are capable of? Do you agree with Cohen's belief that creativity can't exist without life experiences?
Computer or human artist? Test your eye at: http://www.studio360.org/story/175733-robopainter/
Can you tell the difference?
Leave a comment below, tweet us @MightyFingers, send us a message on Facebook, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!