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The art of algorithms: How automation is affecting creativity


"Drawing on your phone or computer can be slow and difficult -- so we created AutoDraw, a new web-based tool that pairs machine learning with drawings created by talented artists to help you draw," wrote Google Creative Lab's "creative technologist," Dan Motzenbecker, earlier this week. AutoDraw is one of Google's artificial intelligence (AI) experiments, working across platforms to let anyone, irrespective of their artistic flair, create something super quick with little more than a scribble. It guesses what you're trying to draw, then lets you pick from a list of previously created pictures. No worries!" is the general idea here. First up, AutoDraw is a super fun tool that gets increasingly addictive -- that much is clear. But what's also clear is that the tool is more a display of AI smarts than it is a tool to improve your artwork, because it would be just as easy to embody the exact same functionality within a text-based search engine. I mean, why bother drawing a crap dolphin with your finger when you could just type in the word "dolphin"? Because it wouldn't be nearly as much fun, and Google wouldn't get to show off its fancy new toys.