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Creating in the Age of AI

© Goethe-Institut

Creating in the Age of AI

Are we ready? Artificial Intelligence will change the way we communicate, create and experience our world. Kulturtechniken 4.0 invites artists, thinkers and creative minds to participate in one of the most important discussions of our time.

Holly Herndon and band, ahead of the launch of her album Proto
Photo credit: Boris Camaca

“I see machine learning along a continuum” Holly Herndon’s take on AI music

After just three albums, Holly Herndon has already established herself as one of the major names in the AI music scene. Despite creating sounds that seem anonymous and impersonal at times, Herndon says making AI-powered music is still a very human endeavour.

André Leslie

Toby Walsh with UNSW robot Baxter
©Grant Turner UNSW

“A golden age of philosophy”: An interview with Toby Walsh

AI stands for artificial intelligence, but as leading technologist Toby Walsh likes to point out the “A” could also be for augmenting. The Sydney-based academic spoke to the Goethe-Institut about how humans can combine forces with AI to create new solutions and art.

Barbara Gruber

Pindar Van Arman in his studio in the USA
© Pindar Van Arman

How children inspired my painting robots

Seeing how simple my young children's art was, I wondered if I could teach their creative process to a painting robot. My attempts, failures and successes led to a 15-year journey of artistic discovery that gave me profound insights into my own mind, including how my creative process worked. 

Pindar Van Arman


How does A.I. "work" in literary translation?
Philippos Vassiliades | CC-BY-SA
How artificial intelligence "works" in literary translation

When Google Translate was first launched in 2006, it could only translate two languages. By 2016, it was supporting over 103 languages and translating over 100 billion words a day. Now, not only does it translate, but it can also transcribe eight of the most widely spoken languages in real time. Machines are learning, and they are learning fast.

Alana Cullen

Author with Phone
© Colourbox
“We are basically the last generation”: An interview with Thomas Ramge on writing

Online technology powered by machine learning can spot our spelling mistakes, complete our sentences and even help us write in foreign languages. But are our writing skills getting worse at the same time? Best-selling author Thomas Ramge told Goethe-Institut there are pluses and minuses to this field of technological advancement.

Barbara Gruber

Will machine translation ever be on par with humans?

Machine translation has improved considerably in recent years thanks to a new technology known as “NMT”. So, what does the future hold for this rapidly advancing field and what does it all mean for the human translators trying to keep up?

André Leslie


Man on beach, ignoring the wave
Photo credit: Tyler Milligan / Unsplash
An unstoppable force? AI music’s ocean of content

The possibility of machines composing original music has developed from a fringe idea into a mainstream topic. Headlines are full of technological promise as they herald the progress made in this area, but what does it mean for the musicians making new works and audiences looking for music that means something to them?

Jochen Gutsch

UAE Concert 2020
©Sharjah Art Foundation
AI music’s appearance of originality

As AI scientists try to test the technology’s creative limits, the world of music is being issued with a challenge. Goetz Richter, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music, gives his view on music, artificial intelligence and consciousness.

Goetz Richter

VR Consumers
©Lucrezia Carnelos Unsplash
Listening out for the detail in AI-driven music

There’s no neat thesis about the role of AI in music, according to researcher and sound artist Oliver Bown. The key is listening closely for the detail and being able to discern the work of the machine from the human involvement.

Oliver Bown


Valia Fetisov's "User Flow" on display at Chronus Art Center, Shanghai 2019
Courtesy: Valia Fetisov
Artists force us to confront the rise in citizen surveillance

In an age of social distancing and mass protest, it's not only governments that are stepping up their use of technology to monitor citizens. Let's face it, we are all keeping a closer eye on each other.

Christy Lange

Missing Data Sets
©Mimi Onuoha
How artists are hacking bias in algorithms

Algorithms and artificial intelligence are used to hire and fire staff, admit students to university and even decide on prison sentences. While these algorithms save time, they can be unfair or discriminatory. Artists are taking up the fight against AI’s coded bias and exposing some of its pitfalls.

Barbara Gruber

Actual Reality Hito Steyerl
© Serpentine Galleries
Making the invisible visible: Art meets AI

Generally, the works of contemporary artists have been embodied ruminations on AI’s impact on existential questions of the self and our future interaction with nonhuman entities. Few, though, have taken the technologies and innovations of AI as the underlying materials of their work and sculpted them to their own vision.

Hans Ulrich Obrist


Scene from Artificial Intelligence
© Warner Bros / AllStarPictureLibrary
Fantasies, power and humanity

Artificial intelligence has been depicted in film for decades. It embodies the tension in our societies between interest, enthusiasm, scepticism and anxiety about the technologies we have created and which surround us every day.

Claudia Sandberg

Robert De Niro stars in the Netflix movie "The Irishman"
Photo Credit: Landmark Media / Alamy Stock Photo
Buying time for Hollywood’s ageing movie stars

A Hollywood star’s run at the top of Tinseltown can be fleeting. But artificial intelligence is powering de-ageing technology and even generating lifelike digital humans that could change movie-making forever.

Peter Griffin

Peter Kubelka in front of a visual depiction of his film "Arnulf Rainer"
© sixpackfilm
Embracing the algorithmic mindset

Algorithms are not strangers to the art of filmmaking. Most of the time they play a role imperceptible to the viewer, yet they are essential for telling stories and, even more, explore the fringes of film language.

Pablo Núñez Palma


"I Will Say Whatever You Want In Front Of A Pizza"  by Sebastian Schmieg
© Sebastian Schmieg
Is it time we called it “laborious intelligence”?

Artificial intelligence is one thing above all else: a lot of work. Designed to be a never-ending competition, it generates many losers and only a few winners. Instead of artificial intelligence, we should really be talking about “laborious intelligence.”

Sebastian Schmieg

Child with robot at Kuromon Market in Osaka, Japan
Photo credit: Andy Kelly / Unsplash
Culture shock in the robot age

From Berlin to Bangkok, robots in home, healthcare, school and work settings are becoming more common. However, research from across the globe suggests this technology is not one-size-fits-all for humanity. In order to build effective social robots, we must understand how culture shapes our perceptions and expectations of them.

Emily Cross

Squirrel eating in a field
Photo credit: Vincent Van Zalinge / Unsplash
Intelligence 4.0: Searching like squirrels?

Google’s algorithms have revolutionised what it means to search for things, making mountains of information available to us in seconds. The development of the human skill of searching has been a long process in the making though.

Dirk Baecker