'He embraced science': Art meets artificial intelligence at the Dali Museum in St. Pete

He's been gone for more than 30 years, but at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, surrealist artist Salvador Dalí lives and tells his story to visitors through cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI).

"We created an artificial Dali to whom we gave back his own words. It makes Dali come alive as he was and gives people the words that he said about his own work so that when they look at the paintings they'll know what he was thinking," said Hank Hine, the museum's executive director. 

The museum is now using AI in another way through its latest exhibit "The Shape of Dreams."

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Hine is impressed with the use of technology mixed with the traditional art.

"We start with five centuries of European-American paintings, the way dreams have been visualized. And then we give our visitors a chance to write into a program that has artificial intelligence. And on a dream easel we'll create a painting from their dream," Hine said. "A group of people doing this at one time will create a synthesized dream, a dream tapestry. 20 years ago there was no AI but 10 years ago the Dali museum started incorporating technology in relation to the art to bring our visitors closer to the art experience. I think that this is a first time that people have a chance to see their dreams in a way that you could hold in your hand, hold on your phone, print it out if you like because it's an interactive where you can take the dream visualization away with you and create it as a memory."

But does this computer art take away from human creativity?

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Hine said he doesn't think so, and he doesn't think Dali would either.

"We always ask ourselves what would Dali do? And he was so interested in technology," said Hine. "All along he embraced science. He would have loved to work with artificial intelligence just as he did with virtual reality and all the other things we've done. Does it mean that we have to lay down our hands and our brushes and our pens? No. It's an inspiration to do more."

The Shape of Dreams exhibit runs through April 30 at the Dali Museum. For more information on the exhibit click here