AI and the Arts: Is this the end of Creativity?

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There’s a lot of discussion about AI ‘stealing jobs’, but this isn’t the first time. During the industrial revolution factory workers were put out of jobs by machines; fast forward to the internet and industries were disrupted. However, this wasn’t the end for industry: factory workers learned to operate machines, journalists used the internet as a resource rather than a hindrance. For every job that’s destroyed, there will be countless new opportunities created. There are several industries, however, where concerns are higher, for example, truck drivers and customer service providers may be some of the first to see their roles evolve in the coming years. Artificially Intelligent systems are able to learn processes, how to communicate with humans, and replicate human behaviour, in some instances, to a higher accuracy than humans themselves - but where does this leave the creative industries?

As AI becomes more and more competent in simulating human behaviour, it will learn patterns preferences and be able to become more and more accurate. Daren Poole, global head of creative at Kantar’s insights division thinks that “If in five to 10 years’ time, computers are able to write and test content, many marketers and creatives will be out of jobs." However, there are some highly creative industries that can not, or perhaps, should not, be replaced by AI, but enhanced by its capabilities.

In 2017 at the Roundhouse in London, Random International ran an installation, Zoological, which featured 'a flock of airborne spheres that glide and swoop and dance and swarm' above guests. These autonomous orbs intelligently responded to the movement of the artists through complex algorithms and motion sensors. The art exhibit extended drone technology and enhanced the creative ideas created by the human artists.

Music is one of the industries that one would initially assume was reserved for the creativity of human musicians, however, there are several platforms striving to mimic its composition. At the RE•WORK Deep Learning Summit in September 2017, Ed Newton Rex, CEO of Jukedeck explained how hey company have built a machine learning driven product that can compose original music to give companies (and individuals) personalised music that’s ‘dynamically shaped to their needs’. The team are comprised of composers, producers, engineers, academics and machine learning experts, all with a passion for music and technology. Whilst the machine speeds up the process and composes 'original' pieces, the creativity remains in the hands of the human agent in the majority with artists and engineers working together to create the model. When asked if he has concerns surrounding the prospect of creativity getting lost, Ed explained that ‘AI has the potential to do enormous good, probably more than any technology we’ve ever created before, through this jobs will be transformed, but creativity will remain.’ Similarly, Spotify’s Eric Humphrey explained at a RE•WORK summit, that ‘as we look to where AI is headed, music is an intelligent behaviour. Nature has remarkable creatures, but only humans make and listen to music, so can we really recreate music if we don’t know how to recreate human intelligence?’

Another company leveraging the combination of art and artificial intelligence is Yamaha. Earlier this year, ‘Yamaha artificial intelligence (AI) technology enabled a world-renowned dancer Kaiji Moriyama to control a piano by his movements.’ Kaiji was hooked up to Yamaha’s original sensory system which can translate movements into musical expression by using AI. The concert showcased a form of expression that fuses body movements and music.

Yamaha believes this performance represents steady progress in the pursuit of new forms of artistic expression and will continue to develop this technology to further expand the possibilities for human expression.

Whilst AI is most certainly infiltrating into the arts, it would appear that for now at least, human cognition and creativity will continue to play an integral part in the sector. To learn more about Jukedeck, or hear how Spotify are using machine learning and artificial intelligence, watch exclusive video presentations on the RE•WORK video hub.

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