Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Deep Forger

Me painted using the style of Vincent van Gogh at ca. 1890.
An internet bot is a software program that can perform repetitive tasks over the internet. Usually, such tasks are quite simple in nature to be repeated at much higher rates. These bots can perform things like editing, data mining, automated trading, chatting and more.

Twitter’s Deep Forger is a very different kind of bot. It is a program that creates forgeries from the submitted snapshots. You submit a photograph and it will convert it in a style similar to that of great masters like Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, Degas, Monet, Renoir, or Goya. Well, actually these should not be called forgeries at all. AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms, embedded in the bot, take the salient features from famous paintings and apply them to create something spectacular.

There are also a number of other programs and efforts like this. Google’s Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) can do something similar besides other tricks. A painting robot 'bitpainter' is also busy in creating artwork. Pikazo App can remix your photos into art ... and the list goes on.

These are the early days of AI and Robotics, so just imagine what will happen in a few decades from now. With the each passing year, these programs and robots are going to do much better and then they might go on surpassing the works of great masters in originality and creativity.

This also raises a number of questions. Is art solely a purview of humans? When some artwork is produced by an AI algorithm or Robot, should it be called art or a product? Then there are questions about the state of AI in general. Who will be the owner of such art if machines and programs created by humans, start to achieve consciousness one day? Should those sentient beings be treated like peers, pets, slaves or merely machines? Will these entities strive to be more human-like as portrayed in The Bicentennial Man or the character of Lt. Commander Data in the realm of science fiction?

I don’t know answers to these questions and perhaps nobody does. These are the things that will evolve over time as we step into the future.

Casa Loma modeled in the style of Pierre Auguste Renoir at approx. 1884.
Swan inspired by Claude Monet at est. 1875.
Rainbow over Niagra with methods of Gustav Klimt from est. 1908-16.
Three little friends painted in the style of  Claude Monet at est. 1875.

1 comment: