The fight between AI and Art

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

AI and ML ultimately just seeks to achieve one thing — churning out more accurate results. From developing smart robots that do what we want to computer vision algorithms that are meant to make self-driving cars faster and better, to stock market prediction algorithms. It’s all about becoming more accurate. Even generative adversarial networks — aimed at generating new data with the same statistics as the training set is essentially still about convergence at its core. Because we still have a set of expectations for this “new data” and it is essentially still trained on a fixed training set.

Artists, however, celebrate divergence. They seek to create content or products that are completely unheard of, with methods evolving from canvas to mixed media to other delivery modes that force people to feel. More importantly, they help people daydream and wander. Artists like Sylvia Plath and Bong Joon-ho taught me how to observe and feel. They craft out novels and artworks subtly presents you with details that direct you somewhere without you realizing it. And an in-depth exploration of how they did it is one of the best pieces of training one can get with regards to developing artistic intuition and subtleness. But more than that, the best artworks stand out because they are different. It is almost like they make you want to head towards the direction they pointed in after you consume their artwork.

Lightbulb image from Ernest Brillo, drawn illustrations by me

Art and Tech (engineering) have never been two separate spheres and the best engineers and scientists are often artists as well. Intuition and inspiration are as important as learning logic and mathematics. The problem comes in when there is a misalignment — when one does not understand enough about tech and engineering to create art or vice versa.

This may be a bit of an over-generalization but I think one of the few roles that will be safe in the future is for creators — people who can understand Tech and AI well enough to wield it but are fuelled by intuition and an appreciation for artistic subtleness.

I sincerely hope that our mad rush into the tech world will not equate to the loss of great artists that will give us hope, warmth, and people who will continue leading humanity towards the exploration of the unknown.