Is there a way to get rich without much work? One might think this, reading that a painting created by Artificial Intelligence was auctioned in New York City for $ 432,000.
Yes, you have read correctly. A portrait by Edmond Bellamy with the sober name “Portrait of Edmond Belamy” was sold at a record price. This painting was the first work entirely created by Artificial Intelligence. The painting, whose value was estimated between $ 7,000 and $ 10,000, eventually changed hands for $ 432,000 or $ 379,769 in New York. An anonymous bidder won the bid at the famous auction house Christie’s.
The portrait of Edmond Bellamy was the only image selected for the auction. Obviously
Can artificial intelligence be creative?
This painting was conceived by an algorithm known as the generative antagonistic network used by the art collective Obvious in Paris. The algorithm was developed over more than a year by Gauthier Vernier, Pierre Fautrel and Hugo Caselles-Dupré to “paint” this image.
To achieve this, the AI was fed 15,000 paintings from the 14th to the 20th centuries. On this data, the algorithm generated images until a competing part of the same program considered one of them to be man-made rather than AI-generated.
In the end, this portrait is not the only work created by this artificial intelligence, but it is the one that was chosen for sale. It represents a fictional character of the Bellamy family. The fictitious family is named after AI researcher Ian Goodfellow, whose last name translates in French as “bel ami” (good friend). The other works are for sale for 10 000 euros on the website of the collective.
Is it art? Obviously.
Is that art now?
Contrary to popular belief, this process is not new as it dates back to 2014 and has already been used to reproduce a Rembrandt. It remains to be seen if this work can be considered as art. The answer is open.
Would you pay for a work of art created by a machine?