“Don’t touch my hair”

Image of a robot figure in the foreground of a landscape painting, working at a table creating a painting of its own.Something I was reading the other day included the term “artificial creativity” as a description of AI generated art. I liked the term and googled it, and ended up signing up for a coursera on it. It talks about the Turing test and asks if a machine can be creative. I’m of the general opinion that the creativity lies in the person using the machine – the painter, not the paintbrush. Maybe they’ll change or broaden my mind though.

One of the activities was to play with a GPT-2 app, in which you put some starter text and let the program produce more. Being lazy, I didn’t bother coming up with my own starter text, but instead copied stuff from the web. I tried a sentence from Darwin Among the Machines, something from The Futurist Manifesto, and some song lyrics. The outputs generally conformed to the style and tended to be predictable and bland. I think Dr. Oblivion is several steps above because he has some personality parameters that color his output.

It did make a curious shift when I gave it lyrics:

So take my hand
You can use my strength to stand
We will make it one more day
I promise we’ll make it one more day
(from https://tomjolu.com/one-more-day/)

Generated by https://app.inferkit.com/demo:

“Fight for what’s right
Treat people with kindness
What you do today
Will be what you’ll do tomorrow

Be yourself
Don’t let other people
Turn you into something else
Be true to yourself
Don’t worry about what other people think
Yes I know I will
I know I will
I promise we will
One more day
One more day
One more day

On second thought
Don’t touch my hair
It’s a sacred thing
Keep out of harm’s way
And if it gets caught up
You’ll feel like death
There is no smooth road in this life
You must take the crooked paths if you want to walk
There are no shortcuts
You must fight for what you want
And whatever

It started out with a positive vibe and followed the rhythm of the language, sort of, and added the kind of repetition you’d hear in a song. The “On second thought” verse seems to take a darker turn and isn’t quite coherent. The app limits the number of characters it will return so I guess it just cut off after “and whatever” but I like the noncommittalness of the ending. It just torpedoes any meaning the verse might have had.

What I see here is the machine being creative in the sense that it generated text, but it did it without any intent, artistic or otherwise. The art, the aesthetic, as I see it, lies in the human input and the human experience of the machine output. The machine and the output are then like carving tools and clay that an artist can use.

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One Response to “Don’t touch my hair”

  1. Kevin says:

    “The machine and the output are then like carving tools and clay that an artist can use.”

    … if people remember to use it that way ….


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