The Artist in the Machine
The World of AI-Powered Creativity
432 pp., 6 x 9 in, 32 color illus.
- Published: November 10, 2020
- Published: October 1, 2019
- Published: September 6, 2019
An authority on creativity introduces us to AI-powered computers that are creating art, literature, and music that may well surpass the creations of humans.
Today's computers are composing music that sounds “more Bach than Bach,” turning photographs into paintings in the style of Van Gogh's Starry Night, and even writing screenplays. But are computers truly creative—or are they merely tools to be used by musicians, artists, and writers? In this book, Arthur I. Miller takes us on a tour of creativity in the age of machines.
Miller, an authority on creativity, identifies the key factors essential to the creative process, from “the need for introspection” to “the ability to discover the key problem.” He talks to people on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence, encountering computers that mimic the brain and machines that have defeated champions in chess, Jeopardy!, and Go. In the central part of the book, Miller explores the riches of computer-created art, introducing us to artists and computer scientists who have, among much else, unleashed an artificial neural network to create a nightmarish, multi-eyed dog-cat; taught AI to imagine; developed a robot that paints; created algorithms for poetry; and produced the world's first computer-composed musical, Beyond the Fence, staged by Android Lloyd Webber and friends.
But, Miller writes, in order to be truly creative, machines will need to step into the world. He probes the nature of consciousness and speaks to researchers trying to develop emotions and consciousness in computers. Miller argues that computers can already be as creative as humans—and someday will surpass us. But this is not a dystopian account; Miller celebrates the creative possibilities of artificial intelligence in art, music, and literature.
“With this quite extraordinary book Arthur Miller has produced an essential, readable, and highly intelligent account of the manner in which machines can—and surely soon will—become involved in the process of creativity. In art, poetry, music, and thinking, computers are now teetering on the brink of true consciousness with implications both tantalizing and terrifying, as this necessary book so eloquently illustrates.”
Simon Winchester, author of The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World
“Arthur Miller is one of the world's most insightful thinkers about the intersection of art and science. In this profound book, he takes on a key question in the impending age of artificial intelligence: Can computers be creative? Readers will be fascinated by his analysis of the unexpected talents of computers and also the more fundamental issue of what creativity actually is. It's an important book for anyone who wants to understand the role we humans will play in a technologically driven future.”
Walter Isaacson, Professor of History, Tulane University and author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci
“Arthur I. Miller is widely acclaimed as a scholarly, insightful, and prolific thinker whose earlier books have illuminated the symbiosis between the arts and sciences. The Artist in the Machine addresses a hugely important new topic: Miller recounts many instances where artistic creativity is already being nourished by interaction with artificial intelligence—and speculates on the capabilities of more powerful machines. This fascinating book deserves wide readership.”
Martin Rees, UK Astronomer Royal and author of On the Future: Prospects for Humanity
"Ever since Ada Lovelace's first speculations way back in 1843, thinkers have debated whether computers can display bona fide artistic creativity. Miller's masterly volume brings the controversy well into the 21st century. The Artist in the Machine is by far the most current, comprehensive, and candid treatment available today."
Dean K. Simonton, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of California, Davis, and author of The Genius Checklist: Nine Paradoxical Tips about How You Can Become a Creative Genius
...the questions that Miller pursues in his book are some of the most exciting ones you can ask about artificial intelligence today.
True creativity demands consciousness and emotions. Miller probes the nature of these two uniquely human traits, and introduces his readers to artists and computer scientists who seek to redefine them.
...a very well researched and highly readable book.
Praise is due Miller for tackling a controversial and technical topic and presenting the content in lay terms.
Art Libraries Society of North America