A portrait created by artificial intelligence sold for a jaw-dropping $432,500 on Thursday in New York City, exceeding pre-auction estimates that ranged from about $7,000 to $10,000.
According to the Times, other AI artists have called the undistinguished portrait "unoriginal", stating that generative adversarial networks have been used in art since 2015, despite Obvious's recent growing attention. Obvious art collective in Paris created the algorithm, training it on 15,000 portraits from between the 14th and 20th centuries.
The next phase in creating the artwork was another system called the Discriminator, which had to determine the difference between work produced by the generator.
If there was ever a question of whether the art world was ready to embrace work created by artificial intelligence, there is no longer.
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This portrait was one in 11 portraits created by the AI, and Obvious Art is selling the other portraits for 10,000 euros each on its website.
Tech lead Hugo Caselles-Dupré readily admitted to The Verge that Obvious borrowed elements from Barrat but he says they tweaked the code to produce art to their own liking.
"I know it's a debate that's going on quite widely, I thought that in a way this marked a watershed - or slightly a tipping point", he said.
Christie's said that the work was snapped up by an anonymous telephone bidder after a five-way battle between telephone and online bidders, and one bidder in the room. "And artist Robbie Barrat, who has been a great influence for us". "Although it is too early to speculate what changes we expect", - said the curator of the auction, Richard Lloyd. "Artists will use it to generate images which they will then modify". Fautrel insists that it is art since they decided to make it even if algorithm created it.