Socio-cultural consequences and challenges of creative-AI technology

Edmond de Belamy, by Artificial intelligence software.
Edmond de Belamy, by Artificial intelligence software.

Applications of artificial intelligence (AI) to the arts (e.g., music, literature, visual arts) are becoming more common. Many artists and AI engineers are rushing headlong into developing and using this technology, and some stakeholders are making considerable financial profit, due in large part to contemporary hype.

Technological developments – e.g. photography, sound recording, and the internet – have clearly resulted in significant effects on the arts. It is very likely that AI will foreground the mass commodification of art beyond reproduction and distribution, namely the automated creation of arts by imitating, combining, and extending existing artistic styles (creative-AI). Yet to be conducted are substantial investigations as to the consequences of creative-AI on the arts as they are practiced, experienced, remembered, reused, and legally defined.

The present-day excitement of what creative-AI can bring to the arts is obscuring what it might harm – aside from the popular but coarse argument that it will lead to human redundancy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of AI applied to the arts? How could it impact how artists work and how apprentices develop their craft? For a technology so dependent on pre-existing data, what can guide the ethical use of this data for creating AI in the context of the arts? When AI is applied to creating art, how might it impact economy, environment, fairness and diversity in different cultural contexts? How can answers to these questions guide requirements for intellectual property regimes?

These are the central research questions of this techno-humanities project, tackled in collaboration with experts from domains of anthropology, ethics, media law, and arts
practitioners. The results of our project will feed into how to create trustworthy AI systems, and how to apply them to creative domains in ethical and sustainable ways.

Funding: Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation 
The project at WASP

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