Can Computers Create Art?

Can AI algorithms make art, and be considered artists? Within the past decade, the growth of new neural network algorithms has enabled exciting new artforms with considerable public interes. These tools raise recurring questions about their status as creators and their effect on the arts. In this talk, I will discuss how these developments parallel the development of previous artistic technologies, like oil paint, photography, and traditional computer graphics, with many useful analogies between past and current developments. I finally argue that art is a social phenomenon, “AI” algorithms will not have human-level intelligence in the foreseeable future, and that it is extremely unlikely that we will ever consider algorithms to be artists.

Aaron Hertzmann is a Principal Scientist at Adobe, and Affiliate Faculty at University of Washington. He received a BA in computer science and art/art history from Rice University in 1996, and a PhD in computer science from New York University in 2001. He was a Professor at University of Toronto for 10 years, and has also worked at Pixar Animation Studios and Microsoft Research. He has published over 100 papers in computer graphics, computer vision, machine learning, human-computer interaction, perception, and art. He is an ACM Fellow and an IEEE Fellow.