Friday, 11 March 2016

Google’s Computers Paint like Van Gogh, and the Art Sells for Thousands


Google’s Alphabet – Art Show/Auction, Works by Computers/Humans

Google’s Alphabet Inc. had put on an art show and auction in San Francisco recently displaying the works that were created by computers with some assistance from humans. The displayed images comprised of psychedelic seascapes, van Gogh inspired forests together with fantastic landscapes of castles and dogs and a professional auctioneer sold the six largest works for about $8,000.

Head of Google’s machine intelligence group in Seattle, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, stated that he `used to think art was some peculiar thing which humans do, but now he thinks that when one meet the alien, they will have something just like it’.

The tech and art worlds prevailed with little overlap in the Bay Area and tech entrepreneurs have not become big art collectors as well as galleries. The art fairs in Silicon Valley have dithered. According to one theory, the tech industry is inhabited with engineers who did not learn humanities and do not appreciate art.Google engineers had applied a system to the artistic process providing art quantitative and mathematical attributes.

Computers with human helpers utilised technology known as neural networks to make 29 works of art for the show.

Four Techniques Utilised

Google had initially created it in order to help recognize objects in photos though for the sake of art, engineers turned it on its head, serving the images of random shapes into computer procedures which later reported what objects the images seemed like, such as faces, dogs and trees. The procedures thereafter incrementally altered the images making them look more like the object reported.

Some of the artists who are Google engineers and others who tend to be independent artists, utilised four techniques like `DeepDream which involved running the process thousands of times for the creation of unique image, `Fractal DeepDream’ which ran the process and various sized versions, producing fractal images, `Class Visualization’ zeroed in on an individual image and `Style Transfer’ which created new images imitating a famous aesthetic, states Vincent van Gogh’s `Starry Night’.

The show was held in a historic movie theatre in hip Mission region. It was said that the attendees had collected around small tables eating purple cauliflower and broccoli, sipping a local IPA beer.

Proceeds of Event – Gray Area Foundation for Arts

Towards the front area of the room, a well-heeled crowd in fashionable, long dresses and boots sent champagne corks flying on the stage floor. The large standing crowd towards the back of the room was controlled by bouncers. The gathering at the back whispered, talked and pointed at the time of the auction. The professional auctioneer, Emily Quinn, leading the sale had to send reminders that if they did not have money to spend they could still give their time and attention stating `thank you all of you …. Shh’.

The main works went for $2,200 to $8,000 and the proceeds from the event had been sent to Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, which is an organization that tends to promote art and technology. Poorna Omprakash, a software engineer at Inc. AMZN-0.14% who had studied machine had never attended an art event before, like several members of the audience.

Ms Omprakash commented that she was there since she wanted to know how they made the art but her second reaction was that it was beautiful.

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