Does the value of art come from the person who creates the art? Is that value inherent, or is it reliant on the beholder? How do you place a numeric valuation on something as subjective as art?
All interesting questions, but let's throw a proverbial spanner in the works. What if the artist was an artificial intelligence (AI) programmed into a humanoid robot body?
A new immersive online exhibition from The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has launched this month to explore the relationship between IP policy AI, and copyright. The exhibition essentially poses the question, what happens when the tool becomes the creator?
Ai-Da: the humanoid robot artist making millions
Last year, Interesting Engineering reported on Ai-Da, an AI humanoid robot (pictured above) who creates artwork from sight using camera vision, neural networks, and a paintbrush or pencil in her hand.
Using AI processes and algorithms developed by Ph.D. students at Oxford University, Ai-Da's artwork had sold for well over £1 million(approx 1.27 million USD).
Interestingly, Ai-Da, for all intents and purposes, is one of the centerpieces of the WIPO online exhibition, which showcases her own art at the same time as exploring some of the many ways AI, such as Ai-Da, promise to transform culture and industry.
In an email exchange, the creators told Interesting Engineering that "Ai-Da’s ability as a humanoid robot to draw and paint from sight has never been achieved before, and that makes Ai-Da an artist in her own right."
Should Ai-Da and other AI own intellectual property?
That's exactly what the online exhibition, titled, "WIPO: AI and IP, A Virtual Experience," sets out to explore. In a world that is increasingly governed by algorithms, many of which function completely under the radar, where does human governance end and robotic self-ownership begin?
"This exhibition is part of a larger process of WIPO’s engagement with AI, where we are having a conversation among many stakeholders to explore and develop the questions arising from the impact of AI on IP policy,” WIPO Director General Francis Gurry explained in a press release. "We hope users find the exhibition both educational and entertaining."
Using the latest 360-degree scanning technology, the exhibition takes you around the WIPO's premises, including the WIPO library, which houses some of the world's earliest historical IP publications.
Some of the key questions explored within the virtual walls of the exhibition, which is well worth a visit, include: can AI be a creator or inventor within the existing IP framework, or is a human required? Should IP policy create new rights in data as a critical component of artificial intelligence?
Unveiled during the Sept. 16-18 WIPO Conference on the Global Digital Content Market, the exhibition is open for viewing until December 18, 2020. WIPO will also hold a series of special live events aimed at exploring some of the issues in greater detail.
Overall, the exhibition gives a rundown of the use of AI in art, music technology, and entertainment. It encourages us to question whether AIs are works of art in their own rights, and their programmers the artist, or whether an AI becomes a creator that can own its own property.
Preparing for an AI-driven world
Exhibits include art by Ai-Da, such as the pieces shown in this article, as well as a song that won an international AI Song Contest.
As a virtual wall piece in the online exhibition points out, "there is no agreed definition of artificial intelligence. In fact, it is difficult to define even human intelligence."
So what differentiates us from them? In a world that is increasingly AI-driven, that question will soon be released from its confines in the many worlds of science fiction. To delve deeper into the question, you may explore the online exhibition yourself.