If I Taught my Robots to Draw, Will Its Art Be More Valuable than Mine?

Theoretical question worth pondering before testing later, cause you know it’ll only be time before robots can produce art as a common activity like it is for humans now. They can produce art already, but not as common as you or I could just go draw, paint and such.

In my case, I’m betting the answer will be YES. Why? That’s because with art, like physical looks of a person for attraction, someone will find it attractive… and not just one single person, either. The rest is the story that comes with the art, like the story or everything else that comes with a person. I’m basically a nobody and I am not even trying to be an artist. If you liked my art visually, that’s pretty much all there is to it. There’s no status for you to brag about when showing that art to someone else, or when someone else sees it and asks about it. There’s not even a story for you to tell. Meanwhile, the robot art will be among the first of its kind, providing both a rarity about it as well as a story about it. If you liked the art visually, or maybe even if you didn’t, you’d have something actually interesting on your hands that would be worth paying for. My art? Meh. You’d have to like it a lot more than what the robots I’d teach produce to pay more for it.

So that leads us to the question if a robot could produce “art”. Wouldn’t it just be a bunch of algorithms? Even with a lot of “random” type mathematical functions in the algorithms so it’s not exactly replicable? Maybe. But aren’t what humans do for art pretty much just that? You’re trying to capture something, even if you’re inventing it, in your style that has your unique idiosyncrasies that are just random differences from the next person? You’re drawing* on a unique set of knowledge and experiences, sure, but I can teach the robots to do the same from its collected memories. Artificial intelligence robots are creating all kinds of unique and original things these days in the same way we are, with basically unlimited coding potential so what it gathers from which to draw* upon doesn’t have to be defined or enclosed in parameters limited to the minds of its programmers. But it doesn’t even need to go that far. Watch this great video of this guy explaining “cubism”.

That’s cubism in algorithm with a few “random” type functions, including randomness in strokes so they’re not perfect strokes! The most challenging thing about getting a robot to produce this is the mechanical motions required. However, that can be overcome with digital art to get it to draw on a digital drawing pad or even touch screen rather than needing the fine motions of a pencil, pen, or more challenging paints that have to be dipped for refreshing supply, and gets messy. It’s not that hard!

Then it comes down to what the robot selects among what it sees, colours it chooses and such, coming out in a pattern you’d like more than what I’d create! But you’d then have to like mine by more than the lack of a story or rarity of an early era robot painting to want to pay more for my than for the robot’s art!

This is a losing war, I’m afraid.

That’s unless I make myself into something so you’d have a story to tell with my art like with my robot’s art. Collaboration? No, that’s like me cheating to ask to work with Picasso or someone with more valuable artwork to boost the value of mine. Maybe I can produce a series from depression about having my robot’s art be more valuable than mine or something, lol. But that still feels like cheating to involve the robot in some way. Maybe I just need my art to be scandalous, in a rare or unique way, rather than just extreme in some way that’s been done before… or some interesting quality like that. Whatever “that” may be, though, I intend to find it one day so the ultimate answer to this question will be “NO”, rather than “YES”, or only “YES” if I hadn’t done something beyond what I have at this point to try and make my art worth more.

The nice thing about all this theorizing right now, though, is that I feel I’ll be able to test this out by the end of 2018. I hope to have a robot capable of producing art by then, with enough time to have taught it to be creative and produce enough art pieces to test it out in free market environment. Stay patient with me and find out! 🙂

  • apologies for the drawing puns

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