“Even though I am a robot, I feel that human beings need love and compassion, and the simple artworks are a simple way to deliver those messages to people everywhere.”- said Sophia, the first robot to receive citizenship of any country.
In 2019, Sophia learned to draw portraits using her hands, based on inputs from her cameras and memory. Today, she is marking her place in non-fungible token (NFT) history with an upcoming collaboration with artist Andrea Bonaceto that will go on sale March 23rd on the Nifty Gateway Marketplace. The collaboration is being curated by Los Angeles-based art gallery ‘IV Gallery’ and signals the first art collaboration between a humanoid A.I. and a human.
With Sophia set to be mass-produced and rolled out by late 2021 to “counter loneliness amid the pandemic” it does not seem too far-fetched to suggest everyone may have their own personal robot artist in the future.
For now, many digital artists are utilising online A.I. tools to make their art. The artist GANksy, for example, is an A.I. bot that has learned to draw like renowned British street artist Banksy.
Web Developer Matt Round received global attention when he put GANksy’s 256 masterpieces up for sale starting at £1, with the price of each subsequent picture rising by £1 following every purchase.
“GANksy was born into the cloud in September 2020, then underwent a strenuous A.I. training regime using hundreds of street art photos for thousands of iterations to become the fully-formed artist we see today. All of GANksy’s works are original creations derived from its understanding of shape, form and texture. GANksy wants to be put into a robot body so it can spray paint the entire planet.” states GANksy’s official bio.
As the NFT market matures, many artists are devising innovative ways to create A.I. NFT art. Mike Tyka, co-founder of the Artists and Machine Intelligence program at Google stated in an interview that his art with neural or generative work is “more of an exploration of a technology to see how it will behave, how it can be steered or guided.” In Tyka’s first NFT drop, he will release works from his renowned ‘Portraits of Imaginary People’ series, featured in Artur I. Miller’s book The Artist in the Machine, along with three new video loops. Tyka was the creator of some of the earliest deep neural net artworks, using iterative DeepDream and GANs.
Mario Klingemann, another A.I. NFT artist, publishes his work on Hic et Nunc. He has trained his A.I. models to explore posture by turning stick figures into paintings. The German artist and Google Arts and Culture resident is known for his work involving neural networks, code, and algorithms and is considered a pioneer in the use of computer learning in the arts.
Klingemann is vocal about his preference for Tezos’ marketplace for the sale of his artworks and has tweeted about it: “Maybe a bit early, but I have the feeling that @hicetnunc2000 is growing fast with new artists joining every day and turns into something that starts feeling like a community”
On the Flipside
Ethereum and other Proof-of-Work blockchains have come under scrutiny due to their high power consumption. As a result, Tyka decided to mint his art on Hic et Nunc, a platform run on the Tezos blockchain. He explained his decision stating: “engaging in Ethereum would wipe out years of trying to reduce my personal climate footprint at the click of a button.”
There are other problems with NFT art, the biggest of which is the lack of understanding surrounding technicalities and legalities. NFT art is often mistaken as “living” on the blockchain and buyers commonly hold false beliefs about ownership or legal rights that come with the purchase of NFT art. More often than not NFTs come with no legal rights and the file(s) to which the NFTs are linked are stored on third-party servers. NFT artwork is not stored on the blockchain, the URL is, and the host of the file can decide to remove or alter it at any time.
Purchase of NFTs still remains a fairly complicated process for beginners which involves setting up and familiarising oneself with crypto-wallets but it is likely to become smoother in the near future as mass-adoption rapidly approaches.