We are constantly shaping our present and future with a systematic innovation that changes our behaviors' nature. Scientific research is the methodology, and technology is the result of this continuous process. One of the most sophisticated and complex human behaviors is creativity. We are also redefining creativity by implementing new advances in science and technology and, in particular, through Artificial Intelligence.
What is creativity? Why do we build creative machines? What are the ethical limits to creating machines that behave like humans? How can we collaborate with the machines to boost our creativity? What are the opportunities and limitations that artificial intelligence technology offers to art creators?
These and other questions are the ones that ARTIFICIA a new platform that emphasizes the relationship between Artificial Intelligence, computational creativity, and the arts, aims to answer. ARTIFICIA is an open space and a collaborative platform to carry out activities that articulate the debate around the impact of technology and Artificial Intelligence, particularly on culture and society from a critical perspective. Both AI researchers using art as a testbed for their research or artists exploring AI in their creative process are invited to share their projects on the platform. ARTIFICIA is oriented to transmit this knowledge to the general and diverse public in a playful way but addressing the ethical concerns that arise in this innovative process that carries out humans through science and technology.
All artistic disciplines are now experimenting with Artificial intelligence, from music, cinema, visual arts to theatre and dance. We have chosen music as the first artistic discipline to put into a debate. How does Artificial Intelligence mediate musical improvisation, composition, and performance? Which new methods and interactions are being developed between the musicians and the intelligence machines? How are algorithms being discovered or adapted to create music or to improve improvisations or performances? Artificial Intelligence is also influencing Music Education. How can a machine support education in music, how can new applications create better and more creative musicians? How do we think this collaboration between humans and machines can be designed to foster our creative musical behavior?
ARTIFICIA has organized three online participatory, multidisciplinary, and inclusive debates focused on musical creation with AI during the Spring of 2021 on March 10, April 8, and May 6.
The first event, dedicated to "Musical Improvisation with AI," was held on March 10 and moderated and introduced by Ramon López de Mántaras, Research Professor at the CSIC. In his speech, some relevant aspects of creativity were appointed: "Creativity is a matter of degrees," Ramon says. "Even animals can express certain levels of it, such as Betty the Crow, but the highest level of creativity is at this moment only achieved by human beings." In musical improvisation, a paradigmatic example of a high level of spontaneous creativity is Keith Jarret's improvisations. Indeed, in an interview in 2005 at the BBC, Jarrett said: “my challenge in solo concerts is . . . not to come up with good music I had come up with before.” He also admitted that, currently, AI algorithms can express certain creativity levels because they are generative techniques that can create new and many combinations from previous and known elements. The challenge for getting a high level of creative AI resides in to show a transformation capacity in the conceptual space of possible combinations. However, current creative AI can be a fantastic tool to support an improviser and influence her/his in different aspects during the performance and also, a tool for introspection and learning about the improvisation process.
In this event, AI researchers and musicians showed us interesting pieces elaborated in collaboration with novel AI systems. The first presentation, the 'AI Musician,' is a computational improvisation system developed by Mark d'Inverno and Mattew Yee-King from Goldsmith College, University of London. The system accompanies a Jazz musician while playing, enriching the piece with sounds textures that challenge the musician and puts them out of their comfort zone - as Mark d'Inverno highlights. The 'AI Musician' models different improvisation levels from a simpler one, using random music generation to a more complex one that creates a statistical model of what the jazzist is playing in real-time, generating more complex interactions.
The second work, called Nami, composed by Sara Sithi-Amunai incorporated the sounds coming from an AI-based glove that captures figurative movements and transforms them into sounds learned and incorporated into the piece. In this case, the musician is provided with incoming sounds while it performs its piece.
Augusto Sarti and Clara Borrelli, from Polimi, presented another challenging work. They aim to use AI to help musicians to explore their creativity. In particular, they are analyzing what creates a rollercoaster of emotions in the listener. Their algorithms can learn from the fly using models that do not require "big data," but some accepted jazz improvisation models. The proposed algorithms can detect aspects of novelty, meaning creativity, that the jazzist is achieving. In the 'Virtual Duo' interpretation, presented in the event, the machine that has already learned previous patterns from the musician can do a duel with the musician, incorporating its sounds into the piece.
The next ARTIFICIA event on Music Composition with AI will be held on April 8. The event will feature different approaches to music composition with AI and several performances. A premiere of a piece harmonized with the support of an AI assistant CHAMELEON, a piece "Human brother" for soprano and orchestra, and an experimental composition that explores the possible bias of AI's musical systems.
More information about ARTIFICIA
The initial idea of ARTIFICIA lay in the need to create a space, which brings together different agents related to artificial intelligence, research, and artistic creativity. In terms of one of the organizers: "I detected that there was a great potential of people involved in academic events, both in the university field and in specialized research centers, artists and creators to have a common space of exchange ideas, as well as of the dissemination of computational creativity to less specialized audiences."
Currently, ARTIFICIA website features multidisciplinary projects, short talks, and debates by specialists in science, the arts, ethics, and other fields of the humanities.
ARTIFICIA is an initiative of The Visual Suspects co-organized with IIIA-CSIC, Kreomúsica, and UPF Ventures. The project counts with other collaborators such as the ESMUC, the Music Technology Group (MTG) of the UPF, and the Cruïlla Festival.