Can Artificial Intelligence Create Art?

Artificial intelligence, more commonly known as AI, is a type of intelligence that’s inorganic, meaning that it was created from scratch rather than produced by billions of years of evolution. For most of our history, AI has been little more than a concept in science fiction, but with modern innovations in technology, that concept is beginning to become a reality.

While we’re still decades away from AI that can match us in intelligence and creativity, we are starting to develop pseudo-AI systems, ones that are able to reason on their own. One of the biggest breakthroughs in AI is GPT-3, a machine-learning language-based algorithm that’s fully capable of answering questions, writing essays, and even coding. But the creators of AI have said that this is only the beginning, and that future iterations will be capable of so much more. But will they be able to truly create unique art?

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Before we can begin to answer the question of whether AI can create art, first we need to understand where the technological world stands in terms of what AI is. At the moment, most of our AI systems are based on machine learning, advanced forms of learning that allow computers to “learn” something, depending on certain parameters. GPT-3, for example, uses something called commoncrawling to trawl through the internet and learning about different topics. It has so far parsed around half a terabyte’s worth of data, which includes the entirety of Wikipedia’s database. GPT-3’s talents are fairly limited, however, as it was programmed to only make use of language.

This hasn’t stopped it from creating its own art, however, as it’s able to use simple SVG formats – those pictures that are made entirety of text. It’s capable, then, of making smiley images at most, but it does point to the notion that even in its limited capacity for creativity, the potential does exist.

Teaching Creativity To a Computer

Perhaps one the human race’s best traits is creativity; an innate desire to make something that has never existed before. But it’s also a trait that almost defies explanation; how could we teach a computer to create something that has never existed before when the very basis of its existence is to function by first learning. But creativity isn’t enough, we need to teach it a few different traits before it can reach a level of producing something intrinsically unique.

  • Adaption: The AI will need to be able to improve its own skills, to learn from its mistakes and to make something better with every new attempted
  • Sociability: Without the influence of others, creativity is almost meaningless, so the AI will have to be capable of understanding the social context around it, whether that means humour or something unique, like betting on the ponies to represent risk. This may be one of the more difficult traits to instil into a computer, but absolutely necessary.
  • Evaluation: The AI will also need to be able to evaluate its own work and to assess whether it’s art at all. Having random scribbles means nothing, there needs to be genuine substance, which can only be achieved through self-awareness and evaluation.