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Scholars explore pros and cons of digital art

Author  :  LI YONGJIE     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-01-10

At the 2019 Cultural and Technological Innovation Symposium, scholars discussed topics regarding the digital humanities and cultural innovation, including AI art, digital art, future art and traditional art.

Tan Liqin, a professor and head of the animation program at Rutgers University-Camden, said that AI art will reshape art, artists and creative power.

Tan divided AI art into various categories, including weak AI art, strong AI art and artificial superintelligence. He predicted that AI art and creative art will be redefined by the time weak AI becomes intellectually approximate to human brains, and even evolves into strong AI or artificial superintelligence.

Li Kanghua, vice dean of the School of Media and Communication at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said that AI art is able to improve the efficiency of art creation, enrich the patterns of art forms and inspire artists. By complementing the art created by human artists, AI art is also able to help create more possibilities for art creation. Nevertheless, AI art has its limitations. It has the tendency to ignore social, historic and cultural background. It is mechanical, automatically generated and not often creative.

Terry Flew, a professor of creative industries at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, talked about the development of the creative industry in the digital era, as well as the ethical issues and trust issues that come along with it. He pointed out that while we acknowledge the positive impact that technology has on innovation, it is also necessary to figure out whether or not digital innovation is going to bring harm to culture.

Robert Blocker, the Henry and Lucy Moses dean of Music at Yale University, said that the combination of music and technology not only boosts the development of the music industry but also helps us make full use of music and benefit mankind. For instance, assisted by technology, music therapy can be used to treat diseases. Technology can also facilitate music education.

Technology brings value and possibilities to traditional culture, said Guan Ning, editor-in-chief of the Fujian Tribune. The major benefit that the digital era brings to the culture industry is the birth of the digital humanities. As a result, more industries in new categories are booming, including digital publishing, digital media, digital entertainment and digital culture services.

Guan also expressed his worries about the downsides of AI, stressing that humanists should think about how to balance instrumental rationality with value rationality. He added that we should actively explore ways to make scientific and technological achievements better ensure the orderly development of human society.

Li Fengliang, vice chairperson of the University Council of the Southern University of Science and Technology, summarized the evolution and development of the digital humanities and explored new changes in the relationship between the sciences and the humanities in the context of the digital humanities. Li also shared his thoughts on the digital humanities starting from theory of value, aesthetics, industry and life.

Li believes that we need to form a healthy digital humanities ecology. We need to put people first while driving the collaboration of culture and technology. Technology should be used to inspire artists, enhance cultural exchange and preserve intangible cultural heritage.

Editor: Yu Hui

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