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Saturday, February 23, 2019

A philosopher argues that an AI can’t be an artist | Intelligent Machines - MIT Technology Review

Creativity is, and always will be, a human endeavor, insist Sean Dorrance Kelly, philosophy professor at Harvard. 


On March 31, 1913, in the Great Hall of the Musikverein concert house in Vienna, a riot broke out in the middle of a performance of an orchestral song by Alban Berg. Chaos descended. Furniture was broken. Police arrested the concert’s organizer for punching Oscar Straus, a little-remembered composer of operettas. Later, at the trial, Straus quipped about the audience’s frustration. The punch, he insisted, was the most harmonious sound of the entire evening. History has rendered a different verdict: the concert’s conductor, Arnold Schoenberg, has gone down as perhaps the most creative and influential composer of the 20th century.

You may not enjoy Schoenberg’s dissonant music, which rejects conventional tonality to arrange the 12 notes of the scale according to rules that don’t let any predominate. But he changed what humans understand music to be. This is what makes him a genuinely creative and innovative artist. Schoenberg’s techniques are now integrated seamlessly into everything from film scores and Broadway musicals to the jazz solos of Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman.

Creativity is among the most mysterious and impressive achievements of human existence. But what is it?...

Some mathematicians are like musical virtuosos: they are distinguished by their fluency in an existing idiom. But geniuses like Srinivasa Ramanujan, Emmy Noether, and Alexander Grothendieck arguably reshaped mathematics just as Schoenberg reshaped music. Their achievements were not simply proofs of long-standing hypotheses but new and unexpected forms of reasoning, which took hold not only on the strength of their logic but also on their ability to convince other mathematicians of the significance of their innovations. A notional AI that comes up with a clever proof to a problem that has long befuddled human mathematicians is akin to AlphaGo and its variants: impressive, but nothing like Schoenberg.

Source: MIT Technology Review