Generative Deep Learning – Teaching Machines to Paint, Write, Compose and Play – David Foster

An undeniable part of the human condition is our ability to create. Since our earliest days as cave people, we have sought opportunities to generate original and beautiful creations. For early man, this took the form of cave paintings depicting wild animals and abstract patterns, created with pigments placed carefully and methodically onto rock. The Romantic Era gave us the mastery of Tchaikovsky symphonies, with their ability to inspire feelings of triumph and tragedy through sound waves, woven together to form beautiful melodies and harmonies. And in recent times, we have
found ourselves rushing to bookshops at midnight to buy stories about a fictional wizard, because the combination of letters creates a narrative that wills us to turn the page and find out what happens to our hero.

It is therefore not surprising that humanity has started to ask the ultimate question of creativity: can we create something that is in itself creative?
This is the question that generative modeling aims to answer. With recent advances in methodology and technology, we are now able to build machines that can paint origi‐nal artwork in a given style, write coherent paragraphs with long-term structure, compose music that is pleasant to listen to, and develop winning strategies for com‐plex games by generating imaginary future scenarios. This is just the start of a gener‐ative revolution that will leave us with no choice but to find answers to some of the biggest questions about the mechanics of creativity, and ultimately, what it means to be human. In short, there has never been a better time to learn about generative modeling—so let’s get started!

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