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ARTificial Intelligence

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From Chinese poems to trippy music videos, AI is increasingly applied to the creative process. This fall, Christie’s will auction off 11 portraits of the fictional “Bellamy” family created by the artist formerly known as generative adversarial networks (GANs), the same tech used to both manipulate and verify the veracity of video. This is all thanks to Obvious, the three twentysomething artists from France who count a machine learning expert among them. The algorithm was trained on 15,000 portraits from the 14th- to 20th-centuries, then split into two “adversarial” parts: a “Generator” that created portraits and a “Discriminator” that looked had to discern between human- and machine-made portraits. Every time a portrait was convincing enough for the Discriminator to be fooled, it was ready for prime time. While there’s nothing new about artists having their assistants actually execute their work--Andy Warhol’s studio was called the Factory, after all--the era of AI art brings up some fascinating questions around who is the artist here. As Hugo Casselles-Dupré, the machine-learning expert among the art collective, told Christie’s John Bastable: ‘If the artist is the one that creates the image, then that would be the machine; If the artist is the one that holds the vision and wants to share the message, then that would be us.’

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