In the art world, computers such as Harold Cohen’s autonomous art-making program AARON are capable of creating paintings. This program can mix paint colours, paint a masterpiece, and then clean the brushes when it’s done.
Like any art, it’s subjective as to whether the computer generated art is great art. As noted in Artificial Intelligence and the Arts, the Tate Gallery, SFMOMA and the Brooklyn Museum are some galleries that consider this art worthy of exhibiting Cohen's AARON paintings.
Emily Howell (Experiments in Musical Intelligence, or EMI) is a computer program written by David Cope that composes original classical music.
"Most musicians, academic or composers, have always held this idea that the creation of music is innately human, and somehow this computer program was a threat in some way to that unique human aspect of creation."
Part of the challenge is to teach a computer to go beyond describing a scene, and to imagine and write prose the way a human can. This is the goal of the What-If Machine (WHIM) project, a venture involving teams at five universities across Europe. The goal of the WHIM project is to build a software system that is able to “invent, evaluate and present fictional ideas with real cultural value for artifacts such as stories, jokes, films, paintings and advertisements”.
It’s debatable as to how great these artistic creations are when computers, unlike humans, aren’t emotionally sensitive to the world around them. How can a computer accurately portray humor, love or loss, when it has never experienced anything beyond a series of programmed 1’s and 0’s?
Perhaps it’s not about replacing the human touch for the computerized, but about enhancing human skills with A.I. The idea of collaborating with a computer program to enhance artistic skills sounds exciting - especially when the computer doesn’t mind the clean-up process!