As our world becomes increasingly dominated by the role of technology and automated processes, there remain some areas of life that are still seen as strictly off-limits. Poetry and art are two of the last human endeavours yet to be pinned down by the computer programmer and creative artificial intelligence has proven to be an elusive goal.

Programmers have been attempting to create robotic artists since the 1970s and Aaron is one example. Aaron was designed and programmed by Harold Cohen; Aaron’s artistic rules governed an interpretation of shape and colour, of interest to Fine Art and History of Art applicants, with the robot able to recognise simple objects. Though Aaron’s creativity was born of algorithms, ‘he’ soon started to create art that was unrecognisable to his designer. Aaron’s novel designs had matured from his initial work but Cohen maintained that true creativity and innovation outruns what can currently be programmed.

Philosophy applicants might like consider whether, even if successful, artwork created by a robot satisfies our requirements of what it is to be art. Computer Science applicants will be interested to understand how neural networks, the closest thing computer science has to an artificial brain, can be manipulated to emulate the human visual brain. This is something that has been explored recently by Google, in their AI labs, and networks have been created that produce visions similar to those of hallucinations or mind-altering drugs. 

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