Clara Herrmann from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) is editor of the anthology “Der digitale Kulturbetrieb – Strategien, Handlungsfelder und Best Practices”. At THE ARTS+ she sat together with Holger Volland on a panel where they discussed how much digital change changes the way we live and work. In her short interview with Holger she now asks about the creative potential of AI.
Why does Artificial Intelligence create excitement in the cultural and artistic context?
The use of AI in creative processes and projects is currently generating widespread discussion. Creativity is an exclusive domain of the human mind and a sign of our cultural autonomy. Machines that compose music, paint pictures or write novels therefore cause extremely polarizing debates. Nevertheless, many artists are currently experimenting with the new technologies and are constantly exploring how AI can be used creatively.
Can AI be creative at all?
A clear yes! Creativity defines the ability to create something original that also brings benefits. But creativity is not one-dimensional: we distinguish between creative results or products, creative skills and the creative process. The skills that go hand in hand with creativity include problem awareness, inventiveness, flexibility in thinking, improvisation, adaptation of a solution to reality and the unmistakability of an idea. We have been practicing all these skills since kindergarten in order to be able to solve extensive problems later. For us, creativity is a process that starts with the desire to solve a problem and ends with a carefully evaluated result. Creative services from AI work differently, however. They do not require a process, but immediately produce a creative result according to clear specifications. For many people this looks just like a human creative product, even if the path to it was a different one.
In which fields is AI used in cultural institutions?
Apart from artistic confrontation, this is currently particularly the case in curating, scientific work with collection objects, and the creation of public experiences. This is where some of the strengths of machine learning and AI come into their own: analysis, comparison and the compilation of large amounts of data for specific occasions are perfect fields of application for the algorithms. Especially the handling of large data and their structuring, analysis and publication is a difficult problem for many institutions. AI can be a solution to this problem. The AI-supported analysis and image evaluation of large quantities of collection objects is already used by many museums today. And, of course, AI applications can also be found in marketing, communication, administration or the infrastructure management of institutions.