Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A.I. Generates Oddly Evocative Abstractions


A high school student named Robbie Barat, working with machine learning software, has developed a series of images that is strangely provocative.

He fed the generative adversarial network with hundreds of nude painted portraits from a few hundred years ago. The "generator" AI would then create variations of that dataset to try to fool a "discriminator" network that was primed to distinguish real images from fabricated ones.

Barat told CNET: "'The generator tries to come up with paintings that fool the discriminator, and the discriminator tries to learn how to tell the difference between real paintings from the dataset and fake paintings the generator feeds it."

The way he configured the system, the images lack faces or immediately identifiable human parts, but they still have the feeling of fleshiness and weight.

The resulting images resemble something from modern art, and they remind us of how our visual brains seem to want to unconsciously resolve images into something basic that we can recognize.


Bill Marshall said...

"Provocative", aka creepy (kidding).
Francis Bacon and Dali go into a bar and...


Charley parker said...

See the work of Max Ernst (and here).

Caravaggisti said...

Do you fear that A.I might take away from the power to create narrative paintings in the future?

James Gurney said...

Caravaggisti, I don't think artificial intelligence will take away the power to create narrative paintings, but I'm assuming it will change the way pictures and films are made and the way we interact with them as consumers. If our recent history is any guide, the new tools broaden the field of art by allowing anyone to push a button and bring things into existence that look professional. At the same time, they induce a craving for the handmade and the authentic. There will be a backlash where a certain segment of the creative classes will pursue those skills and there will always be people to enjoy things made in the old way.

Rich said...

As to artificial intelligence I am reminded of a joke Stephen Hawking would tell:

"Scientists create the first prototype of an "artifical intelligence" machine - at the same time asking their first question:

"Is there a God?"

There follows the supercomputer's answer:

"Yes there is:
Since now!"

Eugene Arenhaus said...

Looks like Francis Bacon's output to me.

Rick Robinson said...


Rich said...

reminds me of butcher's leftovers, which people by as dogfood.

By the way: There may be a difference between A.I.artworks and human-made:
How shall an A.I. piece sell at Sotheby's for 60Million Dollars or more?

A Colonel of Truth said...


scottT said...

I think Andre Breton would have loved this.