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  • Writer's pictureVan Weyenbergh Fine Art

Art, last freedom facing artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is sometimes presented as the devil, who will destroy all jobs and leave all men unemployed, in misery, by giving power to a few companies that will control all the data and steal our identity.

In particular, European countries are often presented as inevitable victims of this future, since they do not own any of the big companies in this sector, whose owners are and will be mainly Chinese and American.

These dangers are real. And the battle for scientific, technological, economic, and geopolitical control of these new industries will largely determine the 21st century. If these technologies will become so essential, it is because they will soon allow us many things, far from being all negative: thanks to them, we will be able to work better and less. We can predict accidents (on the road and in the air) or diseases (linked to behaviors or environments or genetic inheritance), and therefore avoid them. We can even know in advance what we will appreciate, and we will be advised precisely in our purchases, in our studies, in our emotional and romantic relationships. And even one day, in our political choices.

Will the art world be immune? Will artificial intelligence soon tell us what we are going to like? Could she know in advance which work will touch us? And guide ourselves towards the artists closest to our tastes, around the world, or even have them produce in advance the works most in line with our supposed tastes? Can we even imagine that ultimately artificial intelligence could know enough of everyone's tastes to produce themselves, without a human artist, the works of art to which each of us could be most sensitive? Would humans be born one day with a predetermined library of what each of them will like, see, hear, feel? Wouldn't we be more surprised than by what we would be determined to have to be surprised? Would art still deserve this name if it is no longer astonishment, transgression? What if we are punished for not loving what the machine tells us to love?

Ultimately, if this happens, it is the notion of individual freedom that would lose its meaning: we would then be free only to refuse to follow the imperative advice that these machines will give us, in all areas of our life. But at our own risk, losing all protection of society. It is in front of the mad anguish that this threat to the very existence of freedom sets off that we can understand the emergence of the worst and the best human reactions: some will want to break these machines. Others will find scapegoats that they will consider responsible for these abuses. Still, others will rush into the arms of human dictators rather than accepting to be software slaves. Others, finally and above all, will try to use these techniques, like the previous ones, to make them instruments of freedom. And art will as always, be an excellent indicator of what is possible: when technology allows art to express itself, it is not inherently harmful.

Le Journal des Arts -

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