Artistic Expression and Artificial Intelligence

Citizenship has been granted to a robot in Saudi Arabia.

Citizens cry out about the human rights awarded to “her,” arguing she has more freedom than the human women living in the nation. Sophia, as she is called, made her debut during an interview on October 25th at the Future Initiative in Riyadh. Despite her female appearance, she was not accompanied by a male guardian; her scalp was free of a headscarf and she did not wear a traditional abaya “cloak.” Sophia, awarded citizenship at the Initiative, was not held to the standards of other female citizens (BBC). Given the speed with which artificial intelligence is progressing and the advent of robot citizenship, we must decide what it means to be human. How do we determine who, or what, is afforded rights and freedoms? Should A.I. be held to the same cultural norms of dress and social interactions as people are?

These existential and social queries are the basis for arguments opposing further research into artificial intelligence. Additionally, economic state adds fodder as artificial intelligence is on the path to overtaking the jobs of mankind. Unlike in prior technological booms, advances in A.I. technology have the potential to “bring about a wide-scale decimation of jobs” rather than create new ones, according to Kai-Fu Lee of the New York Times (New York Times).

Artistic industries are not safe.

When considering job replacement by robots, creative endeavors are often times not considered. However, all of human existence, including artistic expression, is created through patterns. These patterns can be read, interpreted, and reworked by computer systems to create something entirely new. A.I. can already write newspaper articles, shorts stories, and jokes. It can create digital art and unique musical sounds (New York Times Project Magenta). In fact, A.I. has created a new form of digital art called inceptionism (Smithsonian). Humans do not have a monopoly on creativity. Following are examples of art pieces created by artificial intelligence.



Going forward, I challenge you to consider for yourself what it means to be human and what role you think artificial intelligence should play in society. Are there lines that should not be crossed in regards to what A.I. can and cannot do, and who determines those lines? Is it acceptable for robots to create art? To become citizens?


For further reading on artificial intelligence and creative expression, see the following links. These are the links I referenced in the creation of this post.


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About the Author

Melissa Martin is a sophomore at UNCC pursuing dual degrees in psychology and English. Her talents include eating multiple Cosmic Brownies a day without tiring of them and slipping the word “incredible” into every conversation. She is incredibly fond of her friends, family, and reading.