Historically, artists have been defined by the tools available to make their work – sculptors, painters, and music instrumentalists. Rama Allen, executive creative director of London-headquartered studio The Mill, is looking to turn that idea on its head, by using AI to create art in tandem with humans.
To illustrate this at TNW2019 Conference, he cited the example of The Reeplicator, a project The Mill worked on last year. It’s essentially a live beatboxing AI that has a vocal sample bank it can use to collaborate in real-time with an artist. In this case, it’s with London-born beatboxer Reeps One.
The idea was to allow for creative collaboration between man and machine, something that requires mutual trust in expertise and experience between partners. And as Allen noted, “live improvisation is the ultimate high wire act of collaborative art making.”
The Reeplicator does a fine job of that, as you can see in the clip above. The challenge, of course, was in creating an algorithm for creativity, i.e. creating math problems for the computer to solve, and then translate that to its live performance and responses to the human artist.
With that, Allen believes that what we’re witnessing is not artificial intelligence, but augmented intelligence. The principle behind this allows us to use machines as creative partners.
“This kind of art making is different from all other previously created art – it’s a new kind of collaboration, a new kind of creative feedback loop. You don’t wield this tool, but you create with it,” explained Allen.