Portraits created by a computer algorithm will be sold at posh auction house Christie’s for thousands of dollars.
What it means: For centuries, people have been unable to agree whether machines improve or destroy human jobs. Artificial intelligence - computers which can perform ‘brainy’ tasks like image recognition and language translation - is showing itself to be capable of performing roles we once thought only humans could excel at, like art.
15,000 existing portraits were fed into a computer algorithm. The AI searched for common trends - fabulous moustaches, say - and used these patterns to make an educated guess about what a new portrait should look like, through a process known as machine learning.
Whether the results are impressive enough to bump off human artists remains to be seen. Art is only valuable if enough people think it should be, and plenty will be squicked out by the idea that an emotionless string of code could be considered truly creative.
Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time technology has disrupted portraiture in a huge way... #letmetakeaselfie.