World-renowned auction house Christie’s has offered up its first ever artwork created by an algorithm, but as usual with artificial intelligence (AI), there’s an elephant in the room: it’s crap.
But any criticism of the portrait is by no means a dig at the AI itself. It’s only doing its job. It’s the Paris-based collective that put it to use. The point of the experiment is to prove human creativity can be mimicked, and it clearly has been – just only to the extent of that old Spanish lady who made a fresco of Jesus look like a monkey.
Our saving grace might actually turn out to be our own shortcomings in making technology good enough to render us obsolete. Take Sophia the Robot, for example, which we all pretend to be so impressed with but is basically just Alexa in a dress. It’s programmed to gush over the creativity of humans, a species that’s not even given it legs yet. You won’t get anywhere with that attitude.
Mercifully, none of us really have a clue what we’re doing, and that messy DNA will be everywhere in AI no matter how sophisticated it gets. That could save us.
The real value of that half-shredded Banksy piece isn’t in whatever message he intended to make, but rather its symbolism of even the most enigmatic of humans getting shown up like a dad replacing an ink cartridge the moment they try to collaborate with machines.