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Recommended talk for CIS 736, Computer Graphics:

Decoupling Art and Affluence
Harold Cohen, University of California San Diego
Invited Talk
2001 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Kurzweil CyberArt - demo applet, screen shots

Article on AARON at ViewingSpace.com

ETA, 00:15 CDT Thu 05 May 2005: jereeeza makes a valid critique:
Ah, AARON. What does it obsess about? What bothers it? What makes it happy? What metaphorical intent drives it towards pictures of people and plants? Whence the symbolism of those particular colours?

The English language's painful lack of distinction between art and exercise strikes again.

I have no definite answers to these questions, of course. I am also not the person who claims it is producing art (as opposed to a program that generates original drawings), though I do cite the title and billing. It is putatively referred to as a system for automated generation of art, with terms such as "creative" and "original" being bandied about loosely by non-artists and nontechnical viewers of its output.

As for obsessions, disturbances, happiness: you artists know better than I do how these are or are not necessary conditions for a drawing to constitute art. This version1 of AARON is programmed quite literally to generate drawings that are representational in that it has specific routines for human figures, potted plants, etc. I would assert that the aspect of its "metaphorical intent" that "motivates" it to include a closed curve as interesting, representational, or part of a figure belongs entirely to its programmer. In this version, at least: there are generative systems that are motivated by fitness judgements, both human, mathematically defined, even constrained and semirandom.

Are these "real" aesthetics? You are, of course, entitled to assert that they are not. I think it depends, but as Cohen himself noted, he does not consider AARON to have a level of creativity that compares to its programmer; specifically, it has no learning, adaptive, or self-modifying aspect. More to the point, it is completely open-loop: it does not interact with its environment at all; it cannot "see" what it has drawn in that aside from coloring its forms, it does not perceive or evaluate the representation, nor does it modify either the image or its own internal representation on that basis.

1 And here's my pet peeve: I think he should note which version is which, numerically or otherwise, whether he distributes its source or no.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2005 08:43 pm (UTC)
A computer program that produces artwork is cool.
May. 5th, 2005 07:58 pm (UTC)
But IS it art?
See jereeza's critique and my commentary. I am willing to call the product art in that AARON is an instrument of its programmer, like Paint Shop Pro, but is it an extension of Harold Cohen's creativity or creative (or artistic) in its own right? How "generative" is it, really?

That's a rhetorical question, and in case it isn't clear from above, I don't have any part of a definitive answer.

May. 5th, 2005 09:43 pm (UTC)
Re: But IS it art?
There are lots of artists who think that what Andy Warhol did wasn't art. They call it "paint by number".
May. 6th, 2005 04:49 am (UTC)
And what is your take?
There are lots of artists who think that what Andy Warhol did wasn't art. They call it "paint by number".
What do you think?

BTW, I haven't forgotten the machine translation thing. I'll start a community this week.

Last week we went over this talk by Knight (given at UAI-2003 and several lectures around the country in 2004, and to be a keynote speech at IJCAI-2005) and this paper on BLEU.

This week (Fri 06 May 2005) we are going over this paper on transformation-based learning (TBL) by Brill.

Next week we will continue on to the GIZA / EGYPT statistical MT toolkit, from the 1999 summer workshop.
Have a look at Kevin's Machine Translation Glossary, too.

May. 6th, 2005 04:37 pm (UTC)
Re: And what is your take?
What do you think?

I think if people like the works done by a robotic arm, then it deserves to be called art. If people pay for works done by a robotic arm, I can see how that'll put a bad taste in the mouths of artists all over the world, but they have no right to tell anyone else how to spend their money or what to like. It's not quite the same as having menial labor types of jobs or secretarial types of jobs replaced by a robot, but income is still lost by people in those fields, which would cause the bitterness. But then those people being employed aren't usually the ones making the decisions that keep the owners highly profitable.

BTW, I haven't forgotten the machine translation thing.

No worries or hurries. I'm on vacation right now and truth be told, I'm not at all as focused as I'd like to be these days. My attention span is really bad right now, but I'll be reading through the links and bookmarking them. Thanks. :)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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