It’s Monday, and one of the truly fun things to do on a Monday night is to watch Antiques Roadshow on PBS. There is always plenty of time for viewers to guess what an item is worth before the appraiser announces her or his professional evaluation. No matter what you are buying or selling the worth is dependent on what someone will give you. The appraisals are based on past sales of similar items.

My wife and I watch the show semi-religiously, and often we disagree with the appraised values which is just part of the fun.

Now take a look at the picture above. That is a picture of a painting, Malevich’s Black Square. It is 79.5 centimeters by 79.5 centimeters, and it is, as it appears, solidly and uniformly black. I have seen valuations of anywhere between 60 and 140 million dollars.

From Wikipedia: “A plurality of art historians, curators, and critics refer to Black Square as one of the seminal works of modern art, and of abstract art, in the Western painterly tradition generally.” Painted in the early 1900’s, it represents an iconic “… break between representational painting and abstract painting.”

Perhaps you already knew about the Black Square, or perhaps you will want to take a moment to digest these facts. In either case, I would like to switch gears and discuss a related topic, AI generated art. The CBS Sunday morning show, yesterday, featured a segment on art created by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The story was narrated by David Pogue who is well known for his clever videos on Emerging Technology.

AI is not just coming for the manufacturing jobs. It’s coming to displace the works of human artists with creditable “creations” drawn from vast databases of past artistic work and guided by its programming. AI can “create” in the style of Rembrandt or Renoir or any other style or genre you might request, and these AI works of “art” are, as I said, creditable, certainly as creditable as the Black Square.

You may jump to the conclusion that AI art will be valueless. I think that assumption will prove to be wrong. Who knows what a wealthy collector of, let’s say Picassos, would pay to round out the collection with a new “Picasso” custom made to order and rendered by Watson or Big Blue?

Before I go, let me draw your attention to the picture below. It is a creation of my own, and it is the logical extension and the next step in the line of art begun with Black Square. I call it White Canvas.

Let’s start with an incredibly low bid of one million dollars.