iPhones and iPads and iPods, oh my! Technology runs our lives from every phone call we make to every television program we stream. We order food from a computer screen and propose marriage on a baseball screen. We download an album before the artist releases it and listen to it on the couch we purchased online. No person, place, or thing is safe from technology – not even art.
And until recently, understanding and analyzing art has been considered a task for humans. It’s something you have to feel to understand and appreciate, not categorize and file. But according to computer scientists Dr. Lior Shamir and Jane Tarakhovsky of Lawrence Technological University in Michigan, machines understand art by using an algorithm.
“The algorithm was actually developed for analyzing biomedical images for automatic diagnostics, early diagnostics, and for studying diseases and clinical conditions in a quantitative fashion,” Dr. Shamir explains. “After the first simple experiment that was based on just nine painters, I started working with Jane (who has a background in art) and designed a whole new and more complex experiment that took it to a new level.”