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Google’s computers are producing artwork worth over £5,000

Inspired by Van Gogh, the company’s engineers are now using algorithms to mimic creative practices and sell modern art

As if we needed any more salt to rub in the wounds of our arguably unusable fine art degrees, Google’s computers are now producing artwork being exhibited and sold for more than £5,000.

Using algorithms to create art, engineers at the technology giant experimented with software originally developed for identifying individual objects in images to produce 29 pieces of work for an art show held in San Francisco last week.

Applying a process that sounds a lot like a Google image search in reverse, techies fed random shapes and patterns into algorithms, inviting the computer to interpret what it ‘saw’, before the images were modulated to resemble the objects (faces, building, trees etc) they reported seeing.

“I used to think art was some peculiar thing that humans do,” Blaise Aguera y Arcas, head of Google’s machine intelligence group in Seattle, told the Wall Street Journal. “But now I think when we meet the aliens, they’ll have something just like it.”