Bulletin No. 1, 2021

THE NEW GOSPEL ACCORDING TO A.I. 19 It is even possible for AI to help music researchers with the insights it has gathered through studying countless compositions and performances. ‘With its ability to analyze music and, indeed, other forms of art en masse, AI can help scholars gain a bird’s-eye view of a particular style and better understand how humans make art in the first place,’ said Dr. Szeto, gesturing towards possible new directions for the emerging field of digital humanities. WITH ALL THAT HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT AI AND THE ARTS, perhaps no one has said it better than Hans Christian Andersen in his 1843 fairy tale ‘The Nightingale’, proving again that art is often ahead of its time. The story begins with a Chinese emperor bringing in a nightingale to sing for him, only to then desert it for a mechanical songbird that knows no rest. When this new favourite of his, singing nothing but a monotonous waltz day after day, goes unresponsive because no one is there to wind it up, the emperor regrets having abandoned the nightingale and valued the sounds of a machine above those of a living being. He is right to finally recognize nature’s superiority in art as we should too. But as the nightingale says in defence of its surrogate, the machine has done well for what it was confined to doing. ‘On their own, machines may not be able to make great art. They’re ultimately tools that serve at the pleasure of the human artist or, more accurately, curator,’ said Dr. Chau, affirming the need for humans in art in the age of AI to provide the direction. ‘Within those limits, though, machines do work miracles.’