What’s The Next Great Art Movement? Ask This Neural Network

Originally published by Fast Company

Ahmed Elgammal is creating AI that thinks like an artist.

In just over a year, a technique called “style transfer” has discombobulated everything I’d figured out about art. By feeding many van Goghs into a piece of software, style transfer can deconstruct his strokes of paint–and then copy them, turning any photo into a conceivable mashup with Starry Night. Artificial intelligence had done something that a century of artists and scholars could not: replicate van Gogh’s unique visual genius.

But does that make style transfer AI an artistic genius? Or is it more the equivalent of a monkey that’s been taught to play pseudo-Bach hymns on a recorder?