Putting the “art” in “artificial”

Nicholas St. Fleur, in The Atlantic:

To demonstrate his methods, Taylor and his colleagues planned to use the unique signatures they found to make a Jackson Pollock fake good enough to dupe art experts. “However, we concluded that to generate this work would represent the dawn of a new and unwanted era,” Taylor told me in an email. “So we shelved the plan.”

As robots increasingly work (and play) in ways that once seemed fundamentally human, Taylor believes the art world is headed toward a turbulent time filled with difficult questions: If a computer can fake a painting, can it also fool the computers designed to detect the fakes? How can the programs designed to spot fakes stay a step ahead of the programs designed to generate them? The idea, he said, could trigger a particularly ominous cycle, considering the millions of dollars that could be made from forgeries.

It’s important to be able to show authorship and legitimacy. That being said, technology marches in one direction, and computer-derived forgery is inevitable. As for original art, the more the merrier — I only wonder who owns a computer-generated piece of art. Does the art belong to the software, the hardware, or the wetware?