An iOS app called Prisma has been taking 10 post-Soviet nations by storm, reaching the No. 1 spot in app stores in record time.

At first glance, the software does nothing special: It's a collection of image filters that make photos look like paintings. But the technology is far more complex and troubling: It uses artificial intelligence to completely "repaint" images in any of 20 preset manners, taking a major step toward making painting technique even more irrelevant than it has already been rendered by contemporary art.

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