The technology of artificial Intelligence (AI) has brought many changes to human society both in functionality and intellectually. The idea that a “mind” could be created by a series of Algorithms fascinated people, as this meant an even more advanced integration of the everyday life with technology. It is with no surprise that, AI has found its way into the field of Art as well. There are several applications of AI in Art. For instance, this technology can be applied in the purpose of art restoration with models that attempts to reconstruct the original damaged art piece; It can also be applied for art forgeries detection. In short, AI is very useful in the art field in in a variety of ways and another application that people found for AI was to let it create its own Art.  

[above image shows the 1st AI that draws a painting without the assistance or guidance of a human in the loop]

The first significant AI artwork that was created was done by the AARON program in the 1970s created by Harold Cohen. This program could create digital art pieces autonomously inspired from the hard-coded “styles” that is inputted by the author. Since then, similar programs have emerged throughout the years all attempting to let their algorithms produce art pieces. Each one of them uses different techniques to generate these arts. Some utilizes machine learning. Where the AI is trained with human drawing, then is asked to produce an image inspired from its vast “memory”.

The above art piece is created by Obvious: A French company composed of 3 college students, used machine learning models, and train their algorithm with 15,000 portraits originally painted between the 14th and the 20th century. The resulting ai-generated portrait is a slightly disfigured portrait of a man. This painting was sold in auction for about 400k USD compared to its initial estimated price of 10k USD in 2018. While this artwork is very much like current trends in modern art, mainly abstract art. Its value is vastly attributed to the fact that it was not made by a human.

AI-generated art falls short on the aspect of critical making. Whatever the AI produces has limited amount of context. As it is limited at the data it was used to train with. There is no true motive, nor message that the AI is trying to express. At least, not one that the artist did not “hard-coded” into it. There is no expression through the media. Hence, it does not satisfy the conditions for it to be an art of critical making. If there is any value, it would be its lack of intent. By having no intent behind the artwork, the work becomes whatever the audience sees in it. Instead of conveying a message, it raises more the questioning of what makes art an art. In contrast, if we were to look at human made abstract art pieces such as the one above, the interpretation would have been difference simply because the artist has a motive, a reason for designing his/her work in the way the way it is.