Artificial intelligence (AI) excels at empirical tasks like mapping the brain’s neurons, predicting Alzheimer’s disease, and tracking sleep patterns. But it’s not half bad at the humanities, either.

This week, ten winners of the third annual international RobotArt competition, which tasks contestants with designing artistically inclined AI, were selected from more than 100 submissions entered by 19 teams. Each work of art was voted on publicly and judged by a panel of artists, technologists, and critics on how well the team adhered to the spirit of the competition: “creating something beautiful using a physical brush and robotics and [sharing] what they learned with others.”

Above: Paul Cezanne’s “Houses at l’Estaque,” recreated with AI by Pindar Van Arman.

Image Credit: Pindar Van Arman

American artist and roboticist Pindar Van Arman, who uses machine learning frameworks that include CrowdPainter, bitPainter, and CloudPainter to produce paintings, won first place (and $40,000 out of the $100,000 prize pool) with a six-piece series of “evocative portraits with varying degrees of abstraction” and a reimagined version of Postimpressionist Paul Cezanne’s Houses at l’Estaque. Van Arman’s “computationally creative painting robot,” as he describes it, uses custom 3D-printed paint heads, multiple arms, and deep learning algorithms to make “an increasing amount of independent aesthetic decisions.”

Columbia University

Above: Columbia University’s Muhammad Ali sketch.

Image Credit: Columbia University

Columbia University’s Creative Machines Lab — last year’s winner — nabbed second…

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