New A.I. Test: Can Machines Make Art?

At what point does artificial intelligence meet or surpass the level of human intelligence?

That’s a question that’s been bouncing around the halls of computer science (and science fiction) for decades. The existing go-to system — called the Turing Test, after pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing — requires that a machine be able to essentially fool a human in one-on-one conversation.

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Mark O. Riedl, computer researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has proposed a new kind of test focused on the idea of artistic creativity. The Lovelace 2.0 test would require an aspiring A.I. machine to create a range of creative works — paintings, stories, poems, architectural designs — that expert and unbiased observers would conclude were designed by a human.

It’s not a precisely new idea, as that 2.0 designation suggests. The concept is a variation on a 2001 proposal that also focuses on the idea of creativity in human intelligence. The original Lovelace test requires an A.I. machine to produce a work of art in such a way that the machine’s designers can’t explain how it happened.

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Riedl, associate professor and director of Georgia Tech’s Entertainment Intelligence Lab, contends that the 1.0 test is flawed — in that the designers would always be able to deduce how the art was created. Instead, he suggests a more complex methodology which hews closer to the Turing Test. If a robot can make art indistinguishable from that of a human — to an expert outside evaluator under specified conditions — then the machine has achieved human-level intelligence.

“Many forms of creativity necessitate intelligence,” Riedl writes in his proposal. “In the spirit of [the Turning Test] the Lovelace 2.0 Test asks that artificial agents comprehend instruction and create at the amateur level.”

On a lark, we ran the Lovelace Test on our central supercomputer here at Discovery News HQ, SAL 9000, to see if he could create a poem. As usual, SAL took the opportunity to crack wise. An uncommonly sarcastic supercomputer, our SAL.

Write a poem and I’ll be a hero?

An artist like Robert DeNiro?

Well, give me some time

To think up a rhyme

For 01010.

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