Talk of the Toon

Do you think computers can be creative like humans? Sure, they are good at repetitive tasks that are just too boring for humans to do, Searching the web for pages on Star Trek or horse riding, for example. They can even play some games like chess better than humans. That's just done by searching through more possible moves than a person can. Does that count as creative? It doesn't seem, so. How about drawing? Cartoonists are creative people. If a computer could draw caricatures of people as good as people would that count as being creative?

An AI created cartoon of Orlando Bloom

Lila and Akbar, computer science undergraduates at Queen Mary University of London, supervised by Peter McOwan, decided to find out. The result was that they created an Artificial Intelligence program that draws cartoons of people, choosing the most distinctive features of their face and exaggerating them just as human cartoonists do. For example, the one here is its cartoon of actor Orlando Bloom. Decide for yourself whether it is creative or not.

Soda Cartoon draws the cartoon in SodaConstructor - a program that was also used for Human versus Artificial Intelligence races

Lila and Akbar went on to become researchers at QMUL.

The Maze

The maze

Outside a street magician gathers a crowd

The maze

Overhead a hobbit whizzes past

The maze

You feel someone else is watching from above