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AARON ``Cybernetic'' Artist Paints a New Picture for Artificial Intelligence; Kurzweil CyberArt Technologies Introduces Art-in-Motion for the Computer Screen.

Business Editors

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 8, 2001

Though artists through time may have denied the possibility that a machine could create art, artificial intelligence now challenges this with the public introduction of AARON the cyberartist, a software application that continuously creates original artwork on a computer screen.

The program has been in continuous development for nearly 30 years, making it one of the longest continuous development programs in computing history. AARON, a "Monet of the robot world," is now available at www.KurzweilCyberart.com to create limitless artwork on the computer screen for any computer user or art lover to enjoy.

The AARON Cybernetic Art software was created by Harold Cohen. Already a highly accomplished artist with an international reputation when he started working on AARON in the early 1970s, Cohen has spent nearly three decades teaching the AARON software how to draw, his theory of color, and the secrets of composition.

"It's an outstanding example of artificial intelligence in action," said Raymond Kurzweil, CEO of Kurzweil CyberArt Technologies Inc., which has exclusively licensed the AARON software. "I've been deeply involved in artificial intelligence research for nearly 40 years, and for most of that time I've watched Harold Cohen create the most sophisticated `cybernetic' art program that I'm aware of. If a human created paintings like AARON, we would regard him or her as an acclaimed artist."

Hard copies of AARON paintings have hung in museums around the world, including London's Tate Modern, Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Washington Capital Children's Museum. Paintings created by the AARON software have sold for thousands of dollars each.

"I've had a copy of AARON running on a large panel display in my lobby for the last two years, and it never fails to elicit enormous interest," Kurzweil added. "It's often hard to get people to leave the lobby to start our meetings. So we exclusively licensed Harold's remarkable art software, and my very capable software team has created a polished product."

History of AARON

In its 30 years of development, AARON has undergone a series of progressions expanding the program's ability to create artwork. Originally, AARON was hooked up to a robotic drawing machine, to which Harold Cohen later added an ability to actually mix and apply colors.

In its current form, AARON creates paintings right on the computer screen, which can be printed out on a color printer. AARON has progressed from distinguishing between figure and ground, closed forms and open forms and performing various simple manipulations to creating today's museum quality work that includes complex mixtures of colors and drawings ranging from human forms to plant scenes.

AARON -- The Program

With AARON's artificial intelligence, the program will never produce the same picture twice. AARON paints much as a real painter would, including its use of brush strokes, rather than simply filling in pixels.

The application allows users to save up to 16 AARON paintings at any given time as well as to send AARON paintings to a friend via e-mail. The friend does not need to have the program, and upon receipt, the paintings render on the screen, line by line and stroke by stroke, just as they were originally rendered on the sender's computer.

Originally developed in LISP by Harold Cohen, the Kurzweil CyberArt Technologies software team created a Windows application which includes a screensaver that continuously creates one original painting after another. In addition, users can review archived paintings, print them out, and send to friends.

Availability

A fully functional version of AARON is available now for a free, 30-day trial at KurzweilCyberArt.com. After that time, users will have the option to purchase a license to permanently enable the AARON program for a one-time cost of $19.95.

System Requirements

To install and run AARON, computers must have at least 64 MB of memory; AARON is available for Windows '98, or later versions of Windows, or NT Workstation Service Pack 6.

AARON runs best under True Color (24-bit or 32-bit) monitor settings. The minimum requirement is High Color (16-bit or 65,536).

About Kurzweil CyberArt Technologies and Raymond Kurzweil

Kurzweil CyberArt Technologies (http://www.KurzweilCyberArt.com), which develops artificially intelligent software to aid the creative process, including Ray Kurzweil's Cybernetic Poet (helps users write poetry and song lyrics) and AARON ("paints" original art on computer screens), is an affiliate of Kurzweil Technologies Inc. (http://www.KurzweilTech.com), a research and development company.

Kurzweil is the author of "The Age of Spiritual Machines" (achieved No. 1 Science Book on Amazon.com) and "The Age of Intelligent Machines" (awarded "Best Computer Science Book" of 1990 from Association of American Publishers). He was the principal developer of the first omni-font optical character recognition system, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large vocabulary speech recognition system.

Kurzweil has received scores of honors, including the 2001 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the 1999 National Medal of Technology, MIT Inventor of the Year, Carnegie Mellon University's Dickson Prize (its top science honor), awards from three U.S. Presidents and 10 honorary doctorates.

Other KTI companies include: Medical Learning Co., developer of http://www.FamilyPractice.com, a comprehensive online resource for family practice physicians, which has also developed a virtual patient; http://www.KurzweilAI.net, the Web home of the "big thinkers"; and FatKat Inc. (Financial Accelerating Transactions from Kurzweil Adaptive Technologies), which is developing pattern recognition-based technology to make stock market investment decisions.
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