Machinic Virtuosity: AI and Creativity, from Art to Surgery

By Mark Olson

AI has been traditionally discussed in terms of intelligence and cognition, and yet recent advances in machine learning have found application in the creative arts. Algorithms can now readily transform photographs into painterly images that mimic the style of well-known artists or produce original images that range from evocative and beautiful to merely strange and incoherent. To what extent can a computer be said to be creative? To begin to answer this question requires that we probe the nature of human creativity and its relation to rules, procedures, and repetition.
This conversation will explore the (im)possibility of computational creativity through the figures of the artist and the surgeon. Is the “art" of art-making or surgery simply the application of skilled practice? Or does it involve something “more”? And is that “more” something that is exclusively human? Both are domains of virtuosity that nonetheless are poised to be transformed by computational automation. How steadfast should we be in our conviction that machines will never replace, only augment, human actors in these fields?

  • Electrical Design

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This class is part of our Digital Citizenship Track

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