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Robots Inspired by Dancers and Snakes Showcase AI-Produced Art in Annual RobotArt Competition

May 02, 2017 06:17 AM EDT

Robots are threatening to take over the work force, but that's not the only thing they're mastering. In this age of technology, artificial intelligence is conquering a new frontier: art.

According to a report from Seeker, the second annual RobotArt competition is helping to encourage the development of machines that are not just tools in the artistic process, but collaborators or creators as well. This year, RobotArt organizers are requiring the robots and AI systems to use actual paints, brushes and canvases, instead of just relying on printing. A total of 39 artists have submitted over 200 paintings in hopes of winning $100,000 in prizes.

The variety in the robot systems involved at the RobotArt competition is impressive. Some were mechanical controlled by human artists, but most of the machines have a generative function that allow them to collaborate with people or even create art on their own.

RobotArt has provided a platform for a collaboration of art and science. A range of AI has come forward such as a robot that tracks dancers' movements and interprets them on the canvas in lines and colors. One turns the brain's electrical activity into art, while the Anguis system creates abstract paintings by releasing a snake-shaped robot on a canvas.

RobotArt founder Andrew Conru cooked up the competition to encourage creativity in tech people. Conru also founded social platform FriendFinder and digital advertising platform Adknowledge, and his success urged him to give something back to the industry.

"Some of the art this year is what I call reinterpreted; it's copied or sourced from an original photograph or artwork," Conru said. "But with about half of this year's entries, the original source material was generated in collaboration with some kind of AI or deep learning system. In some cases, the AI is creating its own art out of other kinds of input -- brainwaves, for instance. These are all stepping stones."

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