In the 115-minute lengthy Audi and Converse commercial well-known as I, Robot, there is an exchange between Will Smith and also a robot protagonist the has, for some reason, really stuck to me.

You are watching: Can a robot write a symphony


Will blacksmith attempts to define the supremacy of human beings over robots, introduce to our capacity to be creative.


The robot responds with a burn.

We’ve to be talking about artificial knowledge for years — and it is advancing at a speed that might carry us to a reality comparable to the one Asimov describes. If you very own an Amazon Echo or Google Home, you’ll know that we’re not rather there however (problems with voice recognition, or inability to revolve off the nsfw filter in front of a child). If you remember the Twitter bot that turned into a Hitler-loving psycho, that’s another step far from competent, advantageous AI.

But we’re acquiring there. And also fast.

Some limited forms that AI space already far better than united state at driving, at play chess and “go”, at solving complicated problems or act manual work with some hardware parts attached. Nearly anything they deserve to do far better than us can.

Now, ns really favor efficiency. I favor the idea that handing over work we don’t desire to a robot. I favor the fact that we can make the method we work more logical with the assist of machines. But I also like fiction, I choose stories, I favor witty language, I like music.

So this is the question: if i were a robot with progressed AI, could I compose a symphony? might I create a masterpiece? and also if the prize is yes, climate what do we together humans have left?

One could argue over there is reasonable behind gift creative. Over there are specific sequences and combinations that notes that sound satisfied to the ear. Over there are particular patterns and tropes in renowned blockbusters the make lots and also lots that money. Therefore, if a robot were to sit down and also watch every film from Awaara to Zoolander, could it come up through its very own film classic?

I tried the next ideal thing and went to a Hollywood blockbuster film generator, and also this is what ns got. (Note: I had no idea exactly how much fun I was going to have with this).


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Doesn’t this one sound prefer something? It kind of likewise sounds prefer everything. A mix of super 8, self-reliance Day, and War that the Worlds. Likewise ignore the “about”, more than likely a typo.

You can, theoretically, construct a story by mushing up others together, and also a many of films we know do that (like just how Avatar is accurate Pocahontas). So in mine opinion, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a robot, that knows every the components and also structure of successful film screenplays have the right to replicate one (same goes for analysing musical pieces). But I brought up Avatar for a factor — there is an ext to a movie than simply screenplay (and even if the story is excruciatingly predictable, boring, and/or not memorable, a film deserve to gross small over 3 billion dollars).

A lot of what we produce has patterns and also trends — and also a robot can re-create them — yet perhaps the question we have to be questioning is how crucial is the ‘human element’, and also can AI recreate it?

On the ‘human element’ — i genuinely think a major part of being an imaginative is doing something illogical, or coming up with something brand-new that you not certain will job-related — and sometimes the outcome is brilliant and also sometimes the is not.

One of my favourite films, Children of Men, takes an unconventional technique to just how the camera interacts with the protagonist. It ‘wanders off’, reflecting us the world roughly him, provides us a glimpse right into the resides of other people who in one more film won’t really matter to the story. That interesting, the unusual, yet it works. Memento, as you might know, starts indigenous the end and also ends at the beginning — yet it works. Princess Bride makes funny of tropes and traditions that its genre, however it works.

So far, this sort of behaviour is uneven the AI that we check out now, that tries to discover from the data that it gathers, relies on this previous data and trends, and also doesn’t really think because that itself. The crazy Twitter bot was only emulating the points real human being have tweeted at it, after all.

To come ago to I, Robot, the exoskeleton with a computer system in the head renders a great point. No everyone have the right to write a symphony, or repaint a masterpiece (I know I can’t, and also I recognize that you have the right to spend your totality life make the efforts to and also still fail). Someone have the right to sit down and play Moonlight Sonata ~ above a piano differently than somebody else. Anyone is an imaginative to an extent, yet not anyone can create something really brilliant. Just like everyone offers their mind but not everyone is a genius. If we all were the same, then perhaps we’d never be able to be an innovative — after all, exactly how would you be able to put a little of yourself right into your work and also make it her own and unique?

This possibly sidelines us right into discussions the what a masterpiece is, what being an innovative is, and whether robots through AI can have different personalities choose those that humans and whether we deserve to teach lock to be creative. The first two space largely about semantics and the critical is in reality quite interesting (might revisit at a later on date).

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The allude I’m trying come make ns guess is that being an innovative is something an extremely human, illogical, unique, unpredictable and also relies on us being different. As of now, AI is logical, likes patterns, likes efficiency and certainty (moreover uses a limited pool that information and depends on feedback loops) and also needs united state to function. So, probably as long as an AI can’t convince us it is human, it cannot be an innovative — in ~ the very least not in the same method as we can. For now.