Saturday, 18 December 2021

"Artificial intelligence can mimic art, but it can’t be expressive at it because, other than the definition of the word, it doesn’t know what expressive is."


"The ability of a machine to do or outdo something humans do is interesting once at most.... We humans need to see the human doing it: Willie Mays making the catch that doesn’t look possible, [the intensity of real musicians struggling to play complicated rhythms, the grand failure of the painter's attempt]. When it comes to art, we need to see a woman or a man struggling with the universal mediocrity that is the natural lot of all of us and somehow out of some mélange of talent, skill, and luck doing the impossible, making something happen that is splendid and moving—or funny, or frightening, or whatever the artist set out to do....
    "True intelligence is in a body. Intelligence outside a living body, as some sort of abstraction, is innately impossible, or should be given another name. When it comes to the significant things in life—love, loss, lust, yearning, rage, confusion, God, our abject awe at the spectacle of the cosmos, and so on—artificial intelligence is incompetent and in some ways meaningless, outside an ability to figure out the weather better and other useful and even critical practical matters.... Artificial intelligence can mimic art, but it can’t be expressive at it because, other than the definition of the word, it doesn’t know what expressive is."

[Hat tip Ted Goia


1 comment:

  1. This is a *big* philosophical can of worms Peter :)

    Granted, at the moment, AI doesn't think, isn't conscious or sapient. The closest humans have come to replicating the mind of a living being in silicon is to (precisely & correctly) replicate the neural network of a flatworm. AI producing "art" is really using mathematical tricks to semi-randomly generate imagery that humans recognize as being art-like. AI art is no more art than Jackson Pollock's work.

    But *in principle*, why does the substrate of intelligence matter? A sufficiently complex electronic computer could equal or exceed the neural capacity (if not, perhaps, the density) of a human brain. Why then *couldn't* it be considered intelligent?

    Is there something 'special' about biological neurons, as Swafford implies? Be careful, because that way lies the soul, or elan vital.

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