AI Aesthetics, Lev Manovich
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Lev Manovich

AI Aesthetics

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55 printed pages
Al plays a crucial role in the global cultural ecosystem. It recommends what we should see, listen to, read, and buy. It determines how many people will see our shared content. It helps us make aesthetic decisions when we create media. In professional cultural production, AI has already been adapted to produce movie trailers, music albums, fashion items, product and web designs, architecture, etc. In this short book, Lev Manovich offers a systematic framework to help us think about cultural uses of AI today and in the future. He challenges existing ideas and gives us new concepts for understanding media, design, and aesthetics in the Al era.
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AI now plays an equally important role in our cultural lives and behaviors, increasingly automating the processes of aesthetic creation and aesthetic choices.
We can only talk about fully AI-driven culture where AI will be allowed to create the finished design and media from beginning to end. In this future, humans will not be deciding if these products should be shown to audiences; they will just trust that AI systems know best — the way AI is already fully entrusted to choose when and where to show particular ads, as well as who should see them.
Writing in 1842, Ada Lovelace imagines that in the future, Babbage’s Analytical Engine (general, purpose programmable computer) will be able to create complex music. In the 2017 novel by famous Russian writer Victor Pelevin, set in the late 21st century, the narrator is an algorithm solving crimes and writing novels about them. Today we exist somewhere between these two visions of cultural AI (Artificial Intelligence). Algorithms are frequently used to write music, but they don’t really “understand” the human world and human meanings. Whether the latter will ever happen is unclear.
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