A painting created using AI, was sold at Christie’s auction for $432,500 (almost Rs 3.1 Crores), 45 times more than its estimated value.

According to Christie’s, it was the first AI painting to go under the hammer in the history of the auction house.

The art piece, titled, “The Portrait of Edmond Belamy”, was made by a Paris based collective, named Obvious. The portrait was created using a type of AI called, generative adversarial network, or GAN.

It works by studying data that’s been fed to it, and then goes on to creates its own, based on whatever it learned previously. In this case, it studied historical portraits.

To be more detailed, the machine has two halves, called the ‘generator’ and the ‘discriminator’. The generator creates the image, while the discriminator compares the newly created image with the original and checks for similarities. If it fails to find similarities, the generator tweaks and makes changes, and continues to do this, till the discriminator finds enough similarities and is actually tricked into believing that both the images are the same.

Caselles-Dupré, a lead researcher at Obvious, explained that they “fed the system with a data set of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th century to the 20th.”

Dupré also said, that the concept of “distortion” was also added in the AI, and hence, the face is blurry.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpj5aV2gB6x/?taken-by=artsy 

Unlike other paintings, which are signed by the artist’s name, the portrait is signed by the mathematical formula that was used to create it.

A fair amount of controversy also has surrounded the sale. Robert Barrat, a 19-year-old AI artist, called out Obvious, in a twitter post. The AI was written by Robert and shared his research openly on the web.

Regardless of the controversy, this still is a historic moment for AI researchers and artists, and really doesn’t make the idea of technology generated artwork seem crazy anymore.

 

Header Credits – Obvious’ Official Website