Do You Like Robot Art or Human Art Better?


Two Technology Studies Prove What Humans Like Most…for Now

Turns out that in an era of smartphones, drones and “there’s an app for that” mentalities, human beings still put a premium on the human touch — at least in art-making. Two studies run out of the University of Leuven in Belgium found that human beings respond least favorably to robot art when compared to works by fellow human beings.

We Want Renoir! Not Robo Renoir!

Human beings value machine-made objects and programs in so many areas of their lives, but not in art (at least not yet). Putting the Art in Artificial: Aesthetic Responses to Computer-generated Art by psychologist Rebecca Chamberlain and team presents findings to that effect.

Sixty-five people were asked to view 60 works of art, half made by humans and half computer generated. Rating the works’ attractiveness on a scale of one to seven and guessing if the work was made by a computer or not, the participants came down on the side of skin not silicon. “Images that were categorized as computer-generated were rated as visually less pleasing,” according to the study.

Robot Art--for right now humans still prefer the human touch.
Will there ever by a time humans favor machine-made art over human creations? Or are we already there…

There’s a Twist

A second study was conducted in the Brussels art museum. Researchers tested whether seeing a robot in action creating art negatively or positively influences our response to their output. The study confirms that it does matter and we do care.

One group of participants was simply shown a group of robot art, but were given no info about the makers. A second group was given the artwork and a write-up about the makers. The third group was shown the same body of work but was also shown the artists:  robots all of which had “a left-handed planar robotic arm with a black Bro pen…positioned around a chair where the subject was seated, much like a real drawing class,” according to the study write-up.

The group that got to see the robots in action gave the work highest marks; group two which read about the robots granted the lowest scores. The group that knew nothing about the artists rated the work somewhere in between.

Apparently seeing robots in action “correlated positively with aesthetic response.” A note to artists: let your audience see you at work. It just might spike their interest in you and provoke a possible purchase.


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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.