(Bloomberg View) -- This year's news about what artificial intelligence can do in the arts has been both exciting and scary. Neural networks have learned to paint like masters and compose sophisticated music. Those of us in creative endeavors might be as endangered by technological advances as blue-collar workers are often said to be -- though we are protected by certain limitations that technology is never likely to overcome.

Last summer, a team of Russian developers released Prisma, a mobile app based on the work of some German artificial intelligence researchers. The neural network behind it could redraw an image using techniques it had learned from studying the oeuvre of a number of painters, including Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch. The end product was impressive: Prisma could reproduce brushstrokes and palettes, using only a photo for guidance, almost the way a human painter could have.

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