The Teleological Nature of Digital Aesthetics – the New Aesthetic in Advance of Artificial Intelligence


  • Scott Contreras-Koterbay



New Aesthetics, digital aesthetics, artificial intelligence, post-digital, teleology, curation


If aesthetic and teleological judgments are equally reflective, then it can be argued that such judgments can be applied concurrently to digital objects, specifically those that are products of the rapidly developing sophisticated forms of artificial intelligence (AI). Evidence of the aesthetic effects of technological development are observable in more than just experienceable objects; rooted in inscrutable machine learning, AI’s complexity is a problem when it is presented as an aesthetic authority, particularly when it comes to automated curatorial practice or as a progressively determinative aesthetic force originating in an independent agency that is internally self-consistent.

Rooted in theories of the post-digital and the New Aesthetic, this paper examines emerging new forms of art and aesthetic experiences that appear to reveal these capabilities of AI. While the most advanced forms of AI barely qualify for a ‘soft’ description at this point, it appears inevitable that a ‘hard’ form of AI is in the future. Increased forms of technological automation obscure the increasingly real possibility of genuine products of the imagination and the creativity of autonomous digital agencies as independent algorithmic entities, but such obfuscation is likely to fade away under the evolutionary pressures of technological development. It’s impossible to predict the aesthetic products of AI at this stage but, if the development of AI is teleological, then it might be possible to predict some of the foreseeable associated aesthetic problems.


Article received: April 10, 2019; Article accepted: July 6, 2019; Published online: October 15, 2019; Original scholarly paper


Author Biography

Scott Contreras-Koterbay

Scott Contreras-Koterbay
Department of Art & Design; Department of Philosophy East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
United States

Scott Contreras-Koterbay received his Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland in 1998 and teaches at East Tennessee State University in both the Department of Art & Design and the Department of Philosophy while serving as the Director of the Fine & Performing Arts Scholars Program in the Honors College. His research focuses on the development of artistic identity and technology, influenced by Lacanian psychoanalysis, and has recently shifted to an examination of artificial intelligence, digital autonomy and the materialization of computationality. He has published and presented widely, is the author of The Potential Role of Art in Kierkegaard's Description of the Individual, and recently co-authored The New Aesthetic and Art: Constellations of the Postdigital with Łukasz Mirocha.


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How to Cite

Contreras-Koterbay, S. (2019). The Teleological Nature of Digital Aesthetics – the New Aesthetic in Advance of Artificial Intelligence. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (20), 105–112.



Main Topic: Contemporary Aesthetics of Media and Post-Media Art Practices