arte pregiudizio intelligenza artificiale

Art and Prejudice

A new study, coordinated by Sapienza University of Rome, reveals the unconscious bias humans have towards using artificial intelligence in creating works of art. The results have been published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior

Artificial intelligence is now part of our lives. We recognise its importance for all those activities that simulate human behaviour pertaining to the rational sphere. However, we do not yet recognise its creative capacity, for example, for creating a work of art.

New research in neuroaesthetics (the science that studies the neurobiological basis of the perception of beauty in works of art), coordinated for Sapienza by Fabio Babiloni and Giulia Cartocci of the Department of Molecular Medicine, has shown that people nurture an unconscious bias against artificial intelligence in an artistic context, particularly with respect to the ability to create works of art.

Not only are we influenced by our knowledge of the author of a work, but our judgement is unfavourable for works that we think are the product of artificial intelligence (AI).

The study, which was conducted at the ArtVerona art fair, is the result of a collaboration between the Sapienza startup BrainSigns, of which Fabio Babiloni, Giulia Cartocci and Dario Rossi are members, and the group of artists and researchers Numero Cromatico, which includes Dionigi Mattia Gagliardi, Salvatore Gaetano Chiarella and Giulia Torromino. The decision to carry out this research in an ecologically sustainable environment allowed the researchers to understand the effect of knowing the author of a given work, whether a human being or an AI, on the viewers of an art fair.

'To this end,' says Fabio Babiloni, study coordinator, 'two abstract paintings (Test Verbovisivi, Dionigi Mattia Gagliardi 2015), never previously exhibited and similar in shape and salience characteristics, were used, declaring them to the participants, according to a pseudorandom scheme, alternately as produced by 'human' or 'AI'. Participants were then observed by measuring their emotional perception, using heart rate and skin conductance sensors, and their stated perception in response to specific questions'.

The results, published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour, showed that the audience indicated that the painting whose declared author was AI was less pleasant when evaluated after seeing the one declared as being produced by humans, but that there was a greater response of emotional engagement with the second painting, regardless of whether it was declared as being generated by AI or by a human artist.

"We have achieved," continues Fabio Babiloni, "an important figure in the field of aesthetics, especially in light of the historical moment we are living, characterised by the rise of creative and intelligent technologies, many of which are capable of producing original works of art".

This study, partly supported by Sapienza funds within the Progetto Grande di Ateneo 2021, saw the collaboration of two cultural realities, the startup BrainSigns and the Numero Cromatico collective, which are carrying out further research. Among them, a study on aesthetic appreciation, carried out as part of the exhibition Superstimulus by Numero Cromatico at the MAXXI Museum in Rome, is focused on assessing the impact of human versus AI authorship by considering the brain's reaction.

'This is,' concludes Fabio Babiloni, ' a very fertile area of study that, through an interdisciplinary approach between art and neuroscience, can not only provide new keys to interpreting the concept of authorship but can also open the way to new scenarios on the creation and enjoyment of works of art'. 



Investigating the negative bias towards artificial intelligence: Effects of prior assignment of AI-authorship on the aesthetic appreciation of abstract paintings - Salvatore G. Chiarella, Giulia Torromino, Dionigi M. Gagliardi, Dario Rossi, Fabio Babiloni, Giulia Cartocci - Computers in Human Behavior (2022)


Further Information

Fabio Babiloni
Department of Molecular Medicine
M (+39) 328 7697914

Giulia Cartocci
Department of Molecular Medicine
M (+39) 06 4991 2223

Friday, 02 September 2022

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