This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series AI as a Creator (of AI?)

Can AI be as creative as Da Vinci, Mozart and Shakespeare?

In this series, we examine how AI has been “creating” novel things
spoiler alert – it’s getting really good…


Welcome to my multi-part series on AI as a creator. In this series we aim to look at whether today’s artificial intelligence is capable of devising new works of arts.

We realize that Art is completely in the eye of the beholder, so what may be considered art to some is different than others. Our definition of art will be loose and we will use it to mean the following:

"Art is often considered the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations and ways of expression, including music, literature, film, sculpture, paintings, and also such things as math, physics, biology, chemistry and general inventions. "

In today’s part of the series (the kick-off) we are looking at the general question…

Can AI actually be creative?

Creativity may be the ultimate moonshot for artificial intelligence. Already AI has helped write pop ballads, mimicked the styles of great painters and informed creative decisions in filmmaking. Experts wonder, however, how far AI can or should go in the creative process.

When we recently spoke to AI experts and thought leaders, their opinions varied as to whether AI has the potential to become a true creative partner or even the creator of solo works of art. While this debate will likely continue for some time, it’s clear that as digital content and delivery platforms continue infiltrating all forms of media and expression, the role of AI will undoubtedly expand.

Can AI learn to be creative?

Experts contend that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what is possible. While advancements in AI mean that computers can be coached on some parameters of creativity, experts question the extent to which AI can develop its own sense of creativity. Can AI be taught how to create without guidance? Can it truly understand what is beautiful, perhaps by looking at pixel arrangements or color palettes?

“Just a few years ago, who would have thought we’d be able to teach a computer what is or is not cancer?” says Arvind Krishna, Senior Vice President of Hybrid Cloud and Director of IBM Research. “I think teaching AI what’s melodic or beautiful is a challenge of a different kind since it is more subjective, but likely can be achieved. You can give AI a bunch of training data that says, ‘I consider this beautiful. I don’t consider this beautiful.’ And even though the concept of beauty may differ among humans, I believe the computer will be able to find a good range. Now, if you ask it to create something beautiful from scratch, I think that’s certainly a more distant and challenging frontier.”

Experts point out that teaching computers to be creative is inherently different from the way humans learn to create, although there’s still much we don’t yet know about our own creative methodology.

“Many examples of creativity involve learning and exploring in a hierarchical style. Neural and multilayer network systems can help us construct different frameworks to better understand those hierarchies, but there’s much more to learn and discover,” explains University of Sussex cognitive scientist Margaret Boden, who also serves as an advisor at Stephen Hawking’s Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence.

“If you have a computer that comes up with random combinations of musical notes, a human being who has sufficient insight and time could well pick up an idea or two. A gifted artist, on the other hand, might hear the same random compilation and come away with a completely novel idea, one that sparks a totally new form of composition,” says Boden. She estimates that 95% of what professional artists and scientists do is exploratory and perhaps the other 5% is truly transformational creativity. A lot of the processes behind creative thinking is still unknown and Boden believes AI has a big role to play here.

"Can we take what humans think is beautiful and creative and try to put that into an algorithm? I don't think it's going to be possible for quite a while."
Jason Toy
CEO, Somatic

Augmenting Reality

Thought leaders ponder whether AI innovation will ultimately yield technology that can create without supervision or direction. But the bigger question remains: Should this be the goal of AI even if it is technically feasible?

“It is not our goal to recreate the human mind—that’s not what we’re trying to do. What we’re more interested in are the techniques of interacting with humans that inspire creativity in humans,” says Rob High CTO for IBM Watson. “And that requires that we spend time thinking about that creative process. What could we do to help people come up with new ideas on a much more regular basis than they do today?”

While serving as inspiration is one role AI can play in the creative process, it can also help with more mundane tasks, especially in the digital domain where much of the behind-the-scenes work is far from glamorous.

“It’s about the augmentation of creativity. In the end, the human really is the one being creative, and it’s more about how can you get better efficiencies,” says Smith. “With filmmaking, 99% of the work is actually very mundane. It’s going through hundreds of hours of video in some cases to arrive at the core pieces to use. So there’s still a very good reason to use technology as an assistant here, rather than replace the human in the loop.”

AI techniques, from machine learning to pattern recognition, have already proved ideal in providing assistance in virtually every industry. Healthcare, finance and retail are just a few that are reaping the benefits of advanced cognition capabilities. There’s no doubt the boundaries of AI’s role in creative endeavors will be pushed. And while it will never replace the human soul of creativity, AI can certainly offer many benefits serving as a smart, efficient and inspirational assistant.

In the coming weeks we will continue to examine this topic with a lens on:

  1. Visual Art
  2. Music
  3. Writing
  4. Engineering
  5. Cooking
  6. Sciences
  7. and much much more…

Stay tuned as we all go on this journey and see what AI can really do when trained properly.

So what do you do when all signs point to having to go to University to gain any sort of advantage? Unfortunately it’s the current state of affairs that most employers will not hire you unless you have a degree for even junior or starting jobs. Once you have that degree, coming to my Mentor Program, with 1000ml with our Patent Pending training system, the only such system in the world; is the only way to gain the practical knowledge and experience that will jump start your career.

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