Friday, July 28, 2006

Will Artificial General Intelligence do art?

Webster defines art as "the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects." The first part of the statement seems to hold for AGI, it is likely, almost by definition, that AGI will have consciousness (e.g.; self-awareness), skills and imagination.

In the extended clause, the term objects is also fine, as objects can exist in the physical world or in digital worlds, do not need to be continuously instantiated and do not need to be instantiated at all to be accorded value by AGI. Aesthetic is the most problematic aspect from AGI's view point as aesthetics could be driven rationally, as in by geometric proportions, or emotionally, as in by feelings. AGI will have rationality but maybe not emotion. Emotion is not likely a precondition for intelligence.

How do humans know something is beautiful? It is a subjective judgment, but so can it be subjective (individual, heterogeneous) for AGI. Humans may claim the process of evaluating beauty is subjective too, but it is likely that the process is routine; sensory information comes into the brain and properties (symmetry, color, melody, etc.) are identified and processed, some of which may elicit emotion. Emotion is possibly an after-the-fact signal for more expedient cortical interpretation but not required for perceiving beauty.

Progressing from this simple analysis that AGI could have the concepts of art and aesthetics, how relevant will this be to its priorities? "The conscious use of skill and creative imagination" will likely be the chief activity of AGI, but not for creating stuff, rather for creating ideas, hypotheses and experiments with aesthetics being defined as simplicity, accuracy and economy of solution. AGI art is scientific discovery.