Russell Smith: Personal branding by AI will have us living with the dead

A computer-generated Rembrandt replica was unveiled in Amsterdam last week. (ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP/Getty Images) Last week, The Globe and Mail reported on a “new” Rembrandt, a painting imagined by computer algorithms and painted by machine to resemble as much as possible an image the Dutch painter would have created during his lifetime. Computers analyzed the facial features of Rembrandt’s portraits and put together a typically Rembrandt human face (male, Caucasian, wearing hat, with facial hair, looking to the right). They then analyzed the typical textures of his oil paintings and a 3-D printer reproduced them, simulating brushstrokes and even craquelure. The result is convincing: It looks and feels like a Rembrandt. This set of algorithms could be called an artificial intelligence whose mandate is to recreate Rembrandt’s own intelligence. It…


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