The further exploits of AARON, painter | i |
title: The further exploits of AARON, painter
year: 1995
Bibliographic Entry

Cohen, Harold 1995. The further exploits of AARON, painter. In: Stanford Humanities Review. [unknown address]:[unknown publisher]

‘In the coda of his article, ’The further exploits of AARON, painter’, for the Stanford Humanities Review 4.2 (1995), the artist Harold Cohen confronts a question that arises from considering what his program actually does: ‘as a series of events that can be shown to have occurred and what needed to be done to enable them to occur’. He argues that ‘without such an account being given, one is reduced to talking in abstractions’, here specifically about artificial intelligence. ‘[I]f the events are not available’, he says, ‘the discourse becomes meaningless.’

After describing in considerable detail how he was able to make AARON ‘able to isolate and deal separately with an arbitrary number of patches [in the image of a potted plant]… [and] able to cope with the filling of arbitrarily complex shapes’, he asks, ‘Does that capability
constitute intelligence?’ and immediately answers, ‘It does not constitute HUMAN intelligence.’ Contemplating what AARON does, for example, it is trivially easy to assert that machines think or to deny that they do. He imagines the argument that Dreyfuss would have constructed twenty years prior, that AARON could do what, in 1995, it demonstrably does — an argument based on an excluding definition of art as something which humans do. But, he notes, this ‘sidesteps a question that cannot be answered with a simple binary: it is art or it is not.’’ [Humanist Discussion Group, 2010]

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