Beyond 2001: Odysseys of Intelligence

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From October 31, 2018, until February 17, 2019, we can visit the Fundación Telefónica and see an exhibition that takes Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as its starting point. The exhibition invites us on a journey from the origins, through the present, and into the future of human intelligence through one of its most ambitious projects: artificial intelligence (AI).

Will Computers Ever Be Able to Create an Original Idea on Their Own?

We can see in the exhibition that autonomously generated art creation has always been a strong challenge in AI research. At this moment, a few AI systems are able to recreate a certain degree of creativity; for example, some AIs are specialized in the reproduction of particular authors through complicated algorithms.

Art creation is one of the human capacities that better define our particular intelligence and sensibility. Aside from the influences of the historical and sociocultural context, this kind of creation involves mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual processes. Paul Klee said that art doesn’t reproduce the visible; it “makes the invisible visible”. This means art is a human tool for creating what’s yet nonexistent. I would like to know if someday artificial intelligence will be able to create an original idea on its own.

How Far Can AI Innovations Go in the Art Creation Field?

Some AI systems are able to replicate a certain degree of creativity by studying patterns, using sophisticated techniques of knowledge acquisition, or learning through artificial neural networks. In the exhibition, we can observe The Next Rembrandt, a painting that is the result of an experiment done by ING with the help of Microsoft, TU Delft, Mauirtshuis, and the Rembrandt House Museum. The Next Rembrandt project aimed to emulate the style of the 17th-century Dutch painting genius, Rembrandt van Rijn. Starting from a database of information assembled through the analysis of his paintings, the AI algorithm imitated the master’s baroque aesthetic, his strokes and color palette, and created a new portrait. The developed technologies currently offer support on the restoration of damaged masterpieces. It would be interesting to see Rembrandt observe this painting: What would he think about it? Would he be happy that a computer tried to understand his work and create something identical based on his painting?

What Makes a Rembrandt a Rembrandt?

The controversy is if AI systems could become conscious of their actions, create from specific intentionalities, perceive the constraints of their environment, and be sensible enough to self-evaluate, just as a human artists. To this day, these goals still seem utopian.

Exhibition: Beyond 2001: An Intelligence Odyssey. From October 31, 2018, until February 17, 2019, at the Fundación Telefónica
Curator: Claudia Giannetti

Photography: Oscar Rivilla
Music: Dr. Symptosizer Torgeir Wergeland
Conceptual Design: Carolina Verd
Styling collaboration: Carolina Omaña


Main photo and photo 5: blue dress by Blas Moreno and sneakers by Zara

Photo 2 and photo 4: jacket and pearl-grey pants by Blas Moreno. Sneakers by Diadorita, courtesy of Globally

Photo 3: orange bow top by Blas Moreno. Glitter sneakers by Diadorita, courtesy of Globally

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