Will Machinic Art Lay Beyond Our Ability to Understand It?

A paper with Rui Penha at ISEA 2018.

In this paper we will argue that artistic creations made by artificial minds will most likely lay beyond our ability to understand them. We will assume that the emergence of consciousness in artificial minds is possible and that the artistic creations we are referring to are made by the artificial minds’ own volition. We will build upon the definition of art as embodied meaning and explore its relationship with embodied cognition to argue that there is a binding of human artistic creation to the subjective experience of existing in a natural and cultural world through a human body that is born with a foretold death. Additionally, we will try to show that the best we can aim at, as human beings standing by an artistic creation by another species, is to an understanding of what could have motivated another human being to create such a work. As such, we shouldn’t be able to understand an artistic creation originating by an artificial mind with a physical experience of the world that differs from our own, even if they have a privileged access to our culture. The boundaries for this incomprehension are those of the human mind.