According to a study by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Center of Humans and Machines at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, many people began to perceive artificial intelligence (AI) as the creator of artworks. It's due to how the media displays informational material and reports news about the new AI art.

Scientists interviewed nearly 600 study participants about how they think AI creates artworks and who should be recognized for making this work. The results of this research were published in the scientific journal iScience on August 29, 2020.

Scholars have concluded that it is possible to actively manage whether people endow AI with human qualities through the words used in media reports about AI-generated art.

Portrait of Edmond Belamy

One example that confirms the researchers' findings is artwork entitled Portrait of Edmond Belamy, put up for sale in October 2018 at Christie's New York. According to the Christie's press center, to promote their event, they wrote: "This portrait is not the product of a human mind; it was created by an artificial intelligence" and "sold for an incredible $432,500, signaling the arrival of AI art on the world auction stage."

The proceeds from the sale of the painting were given not to AI but to a group of French artists called "Obvious", who provided information to the machine with lots of examples of real images by different artists and trained AI to create these kinds of works autonomously.

Simultaneously, the programmers who developed algorithms and implemented them were not even mentioned, apart from the fact that they did not receive any remuneration from the sale of this painting.

News coverage

After the auction, information began to appear in the media with the wording that the painting sold was the first work of art created not by a person but by an intelligent algorithm (by a machine), which many people read.

Therefore, it is not surprising that people started to consider that AI receives recognition for this art. Instead, one might describe the creation of AI art by an explanation in a different way. For instance, a painter creates artwork, and AI, following prescribed intelligent algorithms, executes simple commands to make this picture.

As co-author of the study, director of the Center for Humans and Machine at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Iyad Rahwan observed: "Because AI is increasingly penetrating our society, we will have to pay more attention to who is responsible for what is created with AI. In the end, there are humans behind every AI. It's particularly relevant when the AI malfunctions and causes damage - for example, in an accident involving an autonomous vehicle. It is therefore important to understand that language influences our view of AI and that humanization of AI leads to problems in assigning responsibility."