The first painting created using artificial intelligence sold for nearly half a million dollars at Christie’s auction house on Thursday. The painting, a portrait of a fictional person named “Edmond de Belamy,” fetched $432,500—more than 40 times the estimated price. The painting is the creation of a Paris-based collective called Obvious, a group that seeks to explore the combination of art and artificial intelligence. The collective used the Generative Adversarial Network, or GAN, algorithm to produce the work of art, and the signature of the “artist” at the bottom of the canvas is the actual algorithm used to create it. A set of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th and 20th centuries were fed through the algorithm to produce the portrait of the “somewhat indistinct” man. “We did some work with nudes and landscapes, and we also tried feeding the algorithm sets of works by famous painters. But we found that portraits provided the best way to illustrate our point, which is that algorithms are able to emulate creativity,” Obvious co-founder Hugo Caselles-Dupré was quoted as saying by Christie’s.
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