The advent of artificial intelligence will more than ever demonstrate that we are not robots, we are not machines. We are humans. Artificial intelligence will beat us at every rational challenge, at every cognitive task. And the speed of these discoveries and technical developments far exceeds the pace of our biological evolution. Copernicus, Darwin, Freud, Crick and Watson and other scientists again and again showed us, that the emperor wears no clothes: we were less majestic than we thought. Soon, collectively, we will do the ultimate discovery: yes, the emperor really stands there naked.
And wasn’t it the artist Francis Bacon, who once said that when man realizes that he is just an accident in the greater scheme of things, he can only “beguile himself for a time”. Then adding: “Painting, or all art, has now become completely a game by which man distracts himself … and the artist must really deepen the game to be any good at all.”
So, is this all there is? What will there be left for us, humans?
In the next 100 years, rather sooner than later, we will find our new place in the order of things. And it will not be inspired by the sciences. There is no human inspiration from science, just facts. It will be inspired by the humanities. We will find peace with the naked emperor. Currently, we are on an interesting path. The sciences have pushed away the humanities. Yet, I believe they will make a big recovery.
And we will have a choice. Will we stick to fantasies? Just like the Church did in the Middle Ages? Will we cling on to pleasant realities because… well, they are pleasant? Or will we find, no, make peace with the position and role that we apparently have in evolution?
I think art has a big role in this recovery, in this rediscovery of who we are, as a person and as a species.Artists must deepen the game. Art should take the lead in helping us create the realities that shape us, reshape us … in the age where the emperor has no clothes on. Art will be our best chance to bring meaning to our lives. Art must and can show us the beauty of the naked emperor.