Everyone has been talking about the manner in which AI has permeated our lives - from smart speakers to home automation, to driverless cars and more. What people have also been talking about is the dependence of artistes on AI to create works of art - paintings, illustrations, stories, and even music.
Sougwen Chung is a remarkable researcher who has trained robots to mimic her artistry - so to speak. Her research stemmed from the question that if machines are starting to be able to do the work traditionally done by humans, what will become of the human hand? How does our desire for perfection, precision and automation affect our ability to be creative?
Her answers came when she began thinking in terms of combining philosophy with technology. She started off by combining AI and robotics with traditional forms of creativity - in her case - visual arts. It helped her understand a little more deeply the notion of what is human and what is machine. She tells us, “I took some open-source robotic arm designs, I hacked together a system where the robot would match my gestures and follow (them) in real time. The premise was simple: I would lead, and it would follow. I would draw a line, and it would mimic my line.”
This year, Chung has launched Scilicet, her new lab exploring human and interhuman collaboration. Chung believes that by teaching machines how to do the work traditionally done by humans, people can explore and evolve their criteria of what’s made possible by the human hand. “And part of that journey is embracing the imperfections and recognizing the fallibility of both human and machine, in order to expand the potential of both,” she tells us.
She sums up by saying that she is still in pursuit of finding the beauty in human and nonhuman creativity. “In the future, I have no idea what that will look like, but I’m pretty curious to find out,” she signs out.