Edward Powell – Reflection 7

Aaron Hertzmann, is a researcher for Adobe, a former professor, and an amateur artist. This reading was more blog style and mostly reflections about AI in the art realm. There are three major parts. In part one, the author describes briefly photography’s role historically in the art world. Then, in part two, the author argues that AI’s are not artist with the current level the technology is at. He then gives specific examples and list most of the major AI technologies in existence currently for making art. Part three is hypothetical and speculates how the world would perceive AI art and what it would look like if the technology was advanced way beyond our current comprehension.

There are two major schools of thought for artificial intelligence: 1) strong AI and 2) weak AI. Strong AI believes that one day AI entities can have independent thoughts and emotions, acting like some of the exaggerated depictions in movies. Weak AI assumes that no matter how complex the system is, at its core, the system is still ultimately controlled by humans with no genuine independence. The Chinese Room Experiment is a famous thought experiment proposed by John Pearle that is highly critical of Strong AI ever being possible. The author of the readings essentially asserts that strong AI needs to be a reality in order for AI art to become a new paradigm. He does also acknowledge, however, that sometimes curators and community can help create a new art by holding events and supporting some new art forms. Additionally, the opposite can occur to with the same people also ostracizing new art forms.

Admittedly, Hertzmann is biased towards AI not being an art and his reasoning is primarily that AI’s do not take into account the social aspect of art. This is a strong assertion that I personally agree with. However, playing devil’s advocate, art does not always have to be intended to be shown to someone else or involve a social aspect. Henry Darger is an excellent example of a reclusive man who made art purely for the craft and himself. He never attempted to show one person and his genius was only appreciated after people saw his apartment upon death. Additionally, he was a self-taught artist who was not influenced by other works as well. These sort of examples are not as common, but he is a well-known and respected artist whose life’s work, personality, and existence seem to defy the notion that art must have a social aspect in some form. Overall, this was an interesting and thought-provoking read.