Can robots take over the art world?
How differently would you view Picasso’s “Guernica” if you knew it was drawn by a machine or the original manuscripts of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” if they were written by a robot?
Though the natural human anxiety that all our jobs will be automated in the coming decades is often associated with the manufacturing and service industries, robots may soon start to influence a much more neural field: art.
Some tech companies have already started to produce robots able to effectively mimic the processes of painting, drawing, and writing.
Robotic tools that are capable of drawing intricate designs have received praise for their complex detail. While digital marketing continues to grow as an important arena for companies trying to attract attention to their sites and products, there could be a large potential for use of robotically drawn graphics as more and more emphasis will be placed on quality art and designs.
Unlike most human artists that normally stick to a certain style, robots can paint and draw a wide variety of creations that run the gamut of genres, as illustrated in this Business Insider article of the German robot eDavid. The drawing robot has an incredible arsenal that features up to 540 different stroke possibilities.
New York-based company Bond specializes in thank you notes and letters that look exactly as if they were written by a human hand. Company representatives say it’s not just a great way to get brownie points when writing a relative or friend, but can also be a huge business boost to sales teams or customer service professionals communicating with clients and maintaining those relationships.
“Technology simply provides tools for artists to express themselves,” said Ashley Tam, a product manager with Bond. “As a violin is a tool that allows a musician to bring melody to life, a 3D printer is a tool that helps artists express complex and detailed ideas. Similarly, our robots are tools that let people convey genuine thoughtfulness on beautiful keepsakes.”
For the time being, there is a ton of opportunity for human artists to collaborate with these machines to experiment with different techniques and works.
Artist and techie Pindar Van Arman, who creates drawing robots, told the Guardian in 2016 that the machines are becoming adept at making all the same aesthetic decisions that drive the best human painters. Sometimes, he added, they can do even better than the human hand.
“They’re quite stunning considering how they’re generated,” he said when reflecting on his robots’ paintings. “Looking at them as a piece of art, if I didn’t tell you this was done by a robot, you would never know.”
Van Arman gave a presentation at TED Talks on the subject, which you can view below: