Iamus and algorithmic art: a response

Rick Searle of the ever excellent Utopia or Dystopia (go, subscribe!) wrote a comment to my previous post, and I found my reply getting too long to justify it merely being a comment, so I am placing it here instead. The text of the comment is as follows:

I am curious as to your thoughts on this:

Yesterday, in honor of the centenary of Alan Turing’s birth, an orchestra in Europe performed a piece of music that had been entirely created by an AI:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/jul/01/iamus-computer-composes-classical-music

They actually live streamed the performance and I took the chance to listen to it. I am not a great classical music fan, but the piece seemed haunting and beautiful, and the more I reflected on it- a little creepy.

Here was this beautiful piece of art produced by an algorithm completely empty of any emotional life that was nevertheless able to have an emotional effect on me.

It struck me that the one of the questions we have to address when creating these things is not what will the world be like if we create machines that are like humans, but what will the world be like the intelligent machines we create are not like humans at all, and at the same time better, potentially incredibly better, than humans in those very things that we have up to now used to define ourselves? Continue reading