The flaws that make genius
Define the soul. Do you believe you have to be organic to have a soul? Can't a sufficiently advanced computer, capable of thinking and feeling like a human, have a soul?
If a soul is undefinable or has a definition which restricts it to humans, then a computer could not create with intention. Whether you believe that a computer is capable of communicating with true feelings or even possessing a soul is contingent on how you define the soul.
I despise the thought that someday the worth and value of the human experience and intent will be lost to lines of code outdoing us. However, I'm positive that someday computers will be programmed in such a way that they will appear to feel and think as humans, producing work that will far outshine the work of humans. Science Fiction is constantly becoming non-fiction, and we begin producing new science fiction, blind to how mundane our viewpoint of our everyday life has become.
My personal belief is that a computer does not and cannot posses a soul, let alone create with intent, emotion, and soul. The thought that it might, in a way, devalues all that we as artists work for and achieve.
When we visit museums and marvel at the masterpieces, we also inadvertently are marvelling at the life of the artist and all their humanity, their expressed viewpoints, and their genius captured.
What I imagine with computer-created art is that we would marvel at how human-like or better it is than our own. Yet it would be void of story and meaning behind each brush stroke or each sentence, reducing it to a product of an algorithm. Perhaps we would marvel at the genius of the coders and engineers, but there is a element of imperfection that makes art what it is that will be lost entirely. An imperfection that we, as humans, are constantly trying to overcome. Those imperfections, those flaws will always be present in our work because we are human. It is the imperfections that makes us beautiful, and the flaws that we fight to overcome that make our work unique.
No matter how well an algorithm is written to generate art that looks like the creation of a master, it will never be able to compare to those created by the imperfect mind and hands of a flawed human. It will always be missing the intent and soul, which is what each of our unique messed up lives can bring to our work. We give a part of our life, an expression of our voice and soul, an attempt at perfection to our work. Computers can imitate the imperfections, but ultimately it would be programmed to do so. Is it an imperfection then?
Just a thought that has been rolling around in my head for a while. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Photo license CC0 and credits:
Museum: Una Laurencic