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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

World Government Summit: Is the arts world ready for the first virtual Vivaldi?

Paintings and music created by artificial intelligence are the stars at the Museum of the Future

Attendees of the World Government Summit visit the temporary exhibit of the Museum of the Future. Kamran Jebreili / AP
Attendees of the World Government Summit visit the temporary exhibit of the Museum of the Future. Kamran Jebreili / AP

Is there a virtual Van Gogh or an artificially intelligent Beethoven on the horizon?

Art and music created by AI are both on display at the Museum of the Future at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

The temporary exhibit takes artificial intelligence as its theme for the 2018 summit and includes six pieces of music ranging from rock and folk to classical and ambient created by computer programmes without any human involvement.

The verdict on the compositions was mixed. One visitor compared it to “elevator music”, adding that “It lacked human feeling.”

The museum is also displaying canvases painted by a computer that has “studied” the techniques and styles of great artists and then generated original works using a mechanically held brush.

The Museum of the Future displays canvases painted by a computer at the World Government Summit in Duba. Kamran Jebreili / AP
The Museum of the Future displays canvases painted by a computer at the World Government Summit in Duba. Kamran Jebreili / AP

Its subjects so far include Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces.

For the visit of the Indian prime minister on Sunday, the artificially intelligent artist turned its hand to a portrait in oils of Narendra Modi.

The computer’s programmers, a collaboration between British and American universities, first inputs multiple images of each subject but uses advanced algorithms to allow it interpret them as it sees fit.

This year's temporary Museum of the Future takes a broad look at how AI might eventually impact society and government.

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Read more:

Dubai Museum of the Future opens its doors to the public - video

Museum of the Future opens in Dubai

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It includes the concept of AI developing the best models for government decision making on important issues, although the final decision would still be made a real flesh and blood minister.

The temporary exhibition also warns that AI may not always produce the best results. If an employer is prejudiced towards hiring more men than women, using artificial intelligence to evaluate job seekers may lead the computer to conclude that the organisation only wants male employees and to reject female applicants.