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Dr. Lev Manovich | manovich.net
Professor, Computer Science, City University of New York
Director, Cultural Analytics Lab | lab.culturalanalytics.info
AI and Myths of Creativity
1 | why we are obsessed with creativity?
2 | modern concepts of art and artist
3 | why we think that art is biggest challenge for AI?
4 | why it is so easy for AI to simulate modern art?
5 | All art has always being algorithmic
6 | Can AI already create art not possible for humans
7 | AI leads us back to classical aesthetics
1 | why we are obsessed with creativity?
The shift to new economic paradigm in 2000s -
/ highly competitive, global markets
/ companies have to innovate to be successful
/ the values of modern avant-garde art - creativity, innovation, experimentation -
became key business values after 2000
If AI creates something that is almost
unrecognizable from existing art, we say that its not
creative
If AI will create truly original art, we will not
recognize it as art
Examples of real human visual
creativity today:
Ad for Gentle Monster (Korea)
Photos by Dmitry Markov (Russia)
Can AI create this without having
the equivalent of full human
knowledge? Without having a body?
Can it generate complex semantics
and the right interaction of many
references?
2 | Is “making art” relevant to AI progress?
/ why we think that art is the most creative human domain?
/ and that art most difficult domain to formalize and quantify?
/ and therefore art generation is best test for AI progress?
3 | modern concepts of art and artist
Romantic art movement in Europe
(end of the 18th - first part of the 19th century)
/ a new concept of the arts
/ reaction to scientific progress and beginnings of industrial revolution
/ focus on originality, imagination, spontaneity, emotions,
creation rather than imitation (mimesis), genius,
artist’s unique vision, expression free of rules
3 | modern concepts of art and artist
Modern idea of an “artist” -
/ Ancient Greece: "techně" - mastery, skill - leading to modern words “technique”
and “technical” - no concept of “artist”
/ Middle Ages - craftsperson; skilled crafts valued more than painting or sculptures
/ Italian Renaissance - Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472): distinguishes between techn
fine and applied arts
We have been asking why synthetic art images generated by AI
can fool general public but not experts?
Instead we should ask: why it is so easy to generate art images
in particular styles that look so much as the originals?
What does this tells us about human art? Are we less original
than we think?
4 | art has always being algorithmic
/ it is very difficult for humans to do anything without
repeating same templates, schemes, patterns
/ systematicity of all human behavior, including art making
5 | Why it is particularly easy to simulate modern art?
/ in modern art, visual and semantic parameters can vary on large scales
/ many or all parameters can vary independently - they are not correlated
/ in earlier art or realistic art, parameters can vary less and are correlated
/ I have generated the following examples using StyleGAN2-Ada neural network
trained on 81,443 images from WikiArt from 128+ artists /
author: Peter Baylies
6 | AI can already create art not possible for humans
/ a neural network trained on lots of works of dozens of artist can
generate plausible art images in many styles
/ the following examples are from the same StyleGAN2-Ada
7 | AI and new classical aesthetic
/ AI tools for tens of millions of culture professionals and
billions of casual creators
/ goals: ideal, beauty, perfection
/ similar to classical Western aesthetics
Are we moving towards a society with a classical
aesthetics, where only idealized representations
will exist?
The period of raw realism in art, photography
and cinema (19th-20th century) is maybe over
Ad for
Different explanation:
What we see as extreme “asthetization” of visual
representation (effect of AI) is in fact extension of
“aesthetics of the everyday life” paradigm to media culture
From Aesthetics of Everyday Life: East and West (2014):
Chinese, Japanese and Korean traditional aesthetics offer
a “prototype” of living aesthetics… Chinese aesthetics is, at
the outset, oriented towards everyday life, a most profound
difference from European classical aesthetics…
Whereas aesthetics in the West tends to focus on the
extraordinary, Eastern aesthetics already understands that
the aesthetic may populate both the extraordinary and the
ordinary forms of experience.
Thank you!

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Ai and Myths of Creativity

  • 1. Dr. Lev Manovich | manovich.net Professor, Computer Science, City University of New York Director, Cultural Analytics Lab | lab.culturalanalytics.info AI and Myths of Creativity
  • 2.
  • 3. 1 | why we are obsessed with creativity? 2 | modern concepts of art and artist 3 | why we think that art is biggest challenge for AI? 4 | why it is so easy for AI to simulate modern art? 5 | All art has always being algorithmic 6 | Can AI already create art not possible for humans 7 | AI leads us back to classical aesthetics
  • 4. 1 | why we are obsessed with creativity? The shift to new economic paradigm in 2000s - / highly competitive, global markets / companies have to innovate to be successful / the values of modern avant-garde art - creativity, innovation, experimentation - became key business values after 2000
  • 5. If AI creates something that is almost unrecognizable from existing art, we say that its not creative If AI will create truly original art, we will not recognize it as art
  • 6. Examples of real human visual creativity today: Ad for Gentle Monster (Korea) Photos by Dmitry Markov (Russia) Can AI create this without having the equivalent of full human knowledge? Without having a body? Can it generate complex semantics and the right interaction of many references?
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 11. 2 | Is “making art” relevant to AI progress? / why we think that art is the most creative human domain? / and that art most difficult domain to formalize and quantify? / and therefore art generation is best test for AI progress?
  • 12. 3 | modern concepts of art and artist Romantic art movement in Europe (end of the 18th - first part of the 19th century) / a new concept of the arts / reaction to scientific progress and beginnings of industrial revolution / focus on originality, imagination, spontaneity, emotions, creation rather than imitation (mimesis), genius, artist’s unique vision, expression free of rules
  • 13. 3 | modern concepts of art and artist Modern idea of an “artist” - / Ancient Greece: "techně" - mastery, skill - leading to modern words “technique” and “technical” - no concept of “artist” / Middle Ages - craftsperson; skilled crafts valued more than painting or sculptures / Italian Renaissance - Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472): distinguishes between techn fine and applied arts
  • 14.
  • 15. We have been asking why synthetic art images generated by AI can fool general public but not experts? Instead we should ask: why it is so easy to generate art images in particular styles that look so much as the originals? What does this tells us about human art? Are we less original than we think?
  • 16. 4 | art has always being algorithmic / it is very difficult for humans to do anything without repeating same templates, schemes, patterns / systematicity of all human behavior, including art making
  • 17.
  • 18.
  • 19.
  • 20. 5 | Why it is particularly easy to simulate modern art? / in modern art, visual and semantic parameters can vary on large scales / many or all parameters can vary independently - they are not correlated / in earlier art or realistic art, parameters can vary less and are correlated / I have generated the following examples using StyleGAN2-Ada neural network trained on 81,443 images from WikiArt from 128+ artists / author: Peter Baylies
  • 21.
  • 22.
  • 23.
  • 24. 6 | AI can already create art not possible for humans / a neural network trained on lots of works of dozens of artist can generate plausible art images in many styles / the following examples are from the same StyleGAN2-Ada
  • 25.
  • 26.
  • 27. 7 | AI and new classical aesthetic / AI tools for tens of millions of culture professionals and billions of casual creators / goals: ideal, beauty, perfection / similar to classical Western aesthetics
  • 28. Are we moving towards a society with a classical aesthetics, where only idealized representations will exist? The period of raw realism in art, photography and cinema (19th-20th century) is maybe over
  • 29.
  • 30.
  • 32.
  • 33.
  • 34.
  • 35. Different explanation: What we see as extreme “asthetization” of visual representation (effect of AI) is in fact extension of “aesthetics of the everyday life” paradigm to media culture
  • 36. From Aesthetics of Everyday Life: East and West (2014): Chinese, Japanese and Korean traditional aesthetics offer a “prototype” of living aesthetics… Chinese aesthetics is, at the outset, oriented towards everyday life, a most profound difference from European classical aesthetics… Whereas aesthetics in the West tends to focus on the extraordinary, Eastern aesthetics already understands that the aesthetic may populate both the extraordinary and the ordinary forms of experience.
  • 37.
  • 38.
  • 39.