“Curiosity and creativity are the next stage machines will bear”, Conversing with the multifaceted Turkish architect Ali Murat.

By Fidel Gomez (Phani) in exclusive to The Artist Collective. 

Ali Murat is one of those people, who we rarely get to meet in life. He is a brilliant mind, architect, engineer, musician, designer, scientist, software developer, programmer and expert in robotics and AI. At The Artist Collective we are extremely honored to have him as part of our community, and having this opportunity to talk with him is the best way to publicize his wisdom, projects, and important achievements in various branches of human knowledge. 

During this interview Ali Murat will tell us about his professional career, about his most emblematic projects such as Kahin, an application that works with Ai and is capable of guessing the future. Ludwig a software to compose music with Ai, Curiotrix another formidable tool with Ai that explores the infinite powers of curiosity, Compishco called the digital human, something really out of the ordinary, and all this seems to be taken from a science fiction movie, but it is 100% real and is part of the exclusives that The Artist Collective has for its community and the world.

As we can read in Ali Murat biography on his website:

Born on 21 September 1948 as the older son of a 4 children family. Graduated from Moda Primary School in 1959, attended Kadikoy Maarif College and later in 1966 Istanbul Technical University where he graduated as an Engineer and an Architect.

During his university life, he freelanced for several Ad agencies and Construction companies as a designer. In 1970, after graduating from ITU, he opened his first studio where besides

architecture, he performed several kinds of art, especially animation. In 1972, he opened his first advertising agency under his name and managed to get in the first three in Turkey.

At this stage, he produced a 16mm film development and video production studio. Meanwhile he started a 16 page daily newspaper, “Dunya Cocuk” for children. 

He started producing animated TV series for TRT, Turkish National Channel. He also worked with Egemen Bostanci group as an art director and choreograph for their stage musicals……

We leave you with our guest of honor Ali Murat.


Phani: Ali, can you tell me briefly about your professional background? As a context for our audience, I understand that you are an architect and an engineer, however you move in many branches of knowledge, AI, robotics, 3D design, animation, music, software development, among others. 

Ali Murat: I'm an architect by studies, but being a curious guy, I worked around several areas where most of them are either connected or helped each other. I built several hotels, hospitals, factories, houses and mosques worldwide and won awards. Besides architecture I worked on advertisement, did thousands of TV commercials, newspaper ads etc. I published a daily newspaper, educational weekly magazines and several books for children. I started an animation company where I produced 63 TV series, at least 52 episodes of half hours each that were broadcasted in more than 60 countries. Did a lot of paintings and had exhibitions in many countries. 

I also worked on music a lot. Starting as a rock singer and guitarist, I ended up with more than 300 songs, an opera, two conchertos and hundreds of compositions for film and TV. I produced 4 animated rock groups who performed worldwide. I can play more than 50 instruments from piano to banjo. 

To be able to do all this work I learned to write code and design AI based programs that can think and learn and help me with my projects. In the past 20 years I've been working on robotics and clever software that can simulate the human brain. 

I also built 11 yachts, a small submarine and a floating dock for maintenance of sailboats. Currently I am producing compact solar/wind powered hybrid sailboats that can produce its water, energy etc.   

Besides my main streamline jobs, I've studied medicine, worked on artificial heart projects with world's greatest doctors, got more than 200 patents on various stuff like water desalination, film chemicals, vertical take off for planes, new energy resources, non-growing database functions etc. I also worked as honorary counselor for New Zealand in Turkey and for Turkey in Bahrain. 

PH: Tell me about your experience as a pioneer in the use of Ai in 3D animation. 

AM: I started working on Ai in 1983 when the first 1K machines were out. My first AI project that could understand and learn the needs for an architectural design was done in 1984 on a 16K spectrum and was on the news everywhere. Within years, I worked mainly on the Commodore Amiga machine where I could create long animation projects without the need for human power. I started controlling the textile weaving machines and created an endless number of textile and carpet designs. AI helped me produce several TV series at lightning speed. My last series would take the script in and produce a 30 min animated TV show in 5 seconds only. 

PH: What is your approach to AI? Even, what is AI for you? What are the most beneficial uses of AI for humanity? On the other hand, what do you mean when you say that machines have curiosity and creativity? 

AM: AI is the future of humanity where machines will be able to handle most of the work that people need to survive. This will definitely give us more space to breathe and enjoy life. If you look at the future from today's perspective and obligations, AI seems to be a little bit frightening but bear in mind that the life we follow today is not actually secure and pleasant enough. When the production will be done by the machines there won’t be a need for survival fights. This definitely will stop the wars. 

Curiosity and creativity are the next stage machines will bear. Without these elements computing can not cross the borders of learning and producing as humans do. If the machine is not curious on items it requires to produce, it can never achieve acceptable and feasible results. 

PH: Ali, let's dive a little deeper into your projects with AI. There are 4 projects that particularly call my attention, LUDWIG, COMPISHCO, KAHIN and CURIOTRIX. Can you talk about them? 

AM: Well, COMPISHCO was developed in 2004, almost 2 decades ago. It could write its own functions, learn, research, make logic and respond like us. It was accepted as a magical development but the world was not ready for that yet. It had curiosity. It was the first program that main parts were not written in 1’s and 0’s. I had developed a graphical 4D platform which I had called Liquid Data. The massive project was only 840 Kbytes.  

LUDWIG was probably the first code that could create a mood and compose a song. It could compose a symphonic score in a fraction of a second. A standard simple laptop could compose over 2 Billion songs a day. I used LUDWIG as a showcase in my conferences as a real time music composer and player during the time I talked. It could store 10 mins of music in 2-3 kbytes. 

KAHIN is a new project where machines could interpret the future lives of people by analyzing their personal references such as names, date of birth etc. After finding out that machines could communicate even without any connection between them, I did research on their relations with the users. 

CURIOTRIX is the basic essence of learning. Without curiosity, we can never investigate, research, learn and synthesize. Though it can be mathematically defined, not too many scientists have worked on Curiosity. I’ve been working on this concept for more than 30 years. 

PH: Ali, you have also created musical compositions, your link with music and animation keeps you strongly connected to art. Can you tell me about this connection? 

AM: ART is a combination of philosophy, feelings, creative     thinking and excitement. If you have

a story to tell, and you need to express yourself, ART is your tool. Music helps painting, painting helps writing and poetry etc. I was born to a family where everyone was working on arts so I joined the club. ART not only helped me create books, films, paintings etc, but helped me to look at the positive side of life. 

PH: Of all your projects developed so far, which have been the most challenging and why? 

AM: Right now, I am working on a project called Robisapien. This is a very neat project where 3 toys with AI and curiosity and the characters of a 24 hour running animated TV broadcast will be talking and discussing every aspect of life with kids all over the world. Being a highly educational project this will help the peace of the world as children from different countries start getting familiar with each other. 

PH: Ali, what are your main sources of inspiration? 

AM: Life itself is a big source of inspiration. I have 11 cats and 2 dogs inside my house and just watching how wonderfully crafted living creatures are makes me try to learn and imitate as far as I can go to understand the fundamental principles of life. Besides that, my 6 years old son Derin, keeps asking me for out of this world stuff, with his ever expanding imagination. That also makes me dive head first into the pool of possibilities. 

PH: What are your favorite reads? Tell me about your favorite authors and give us some recommendations in this regard. 

AM: I did a lot of reading all my life and even started 2 publishing companies. Funny enough I can no longer read much for two main reasons; at the age of 75 my eyes hurt and I can hardly find things worth reading. Like many of us I enjoyed the classics, especially Jules Verne, Dostoyevski and Romain Gary novels. As in my younger days I had played Shakespeare, I still remember most of my lines. I still enjoy reading as long as it is on paper. 

PH: Ali, what do you believe? What do you love? And, What do you fear? 

AM: Though I am an Atheist, I believe in the fantastic creation. No one can define it. Religions are created by some wise guys using the creation as excuses for their public herding systems. 

What do I love? I am a guy that sees the full part of glass. Thus I love every good thing happening around me. I hate things like nationality, religions and even being a fan of a club that divides people into groups who then have an excuse to fight with each other. 

What do I fear? Not much. Probably the growth of hunger and hatred among people is what I fear the most. Of course something happening to my loved ones has always been a major point of fear within me. 

PH: About your projects in the area of robotics, can you tell me about them? its objectives, scope, even achievements. 

AM: I’ve done several robotic projects. No matter what, our future is in the hands of clever machines. About 10 years ago I did a project called ToyGuys. That was my first serious robotic project. Toyguys traveled everywhere from the USA to Korea. Later on I did similar projects with animal, robot and human characters. I made a small character for the car industry but that project got stopped during Covid 19 pandemic. Recently I am working on Robisapien robots, semi human characters.  

The idea is trying to simulate the human mind, though not possible but to understand and learn how we behave.  

PH: What is your opinion about web 3, the blockchain, and everything that is happening in the new internet model that is being developed? 

AM: I think Web 3 will be a passageway between the recent era and future economies. It is fairly new stuff with too many drawbacks and rabbit holes that need to be fulfilled. However it will be a bridge between the coming technologies as the world is in the threshold of a total change, from economy to human participation. 

PH: On the subject of crypto art, I understand that you have a project related to NFTs, can you tell me about it? 

AM: Yes, I have a project called  Our Lady of AI, which  initially was called LUDWIG. I got one of my paintings and digitally divided that into 10000 pieces. Software looked at each  frame, the harmony, colors and the graphics within that, created a “mood” and wrote a piano sonata for that little piece. If someone gets a frame, it comes with that sonata and a reading from Kahin, the interpreter of his/her future. So basically two projects are combined for a different NFT experience. 

PH: Speaking of the architect Ali Murat, can you tell me about your smart building projects? It is something very interesting, but on the other hand very new. 

AM: I designed several innovative buildings in the past. I worked on a house producing mobile factory that could build 3000 full apartment houses in one day. That was for the Algerian government 14 years ago. Then I designed self-contained buildings and Malls for Cambodia. My latest project was Nature Park, a theme park and Scientific Research center in Istanbul where the whole building had AI, could change shape etc, and guests could talk with the building. That was a project to be done together with the Earthquake Foundation of Turkey. Project is still waiting for final approval. 

PH: At present the use of AI is very much in use, for many artists who work in digital art. However, the images obtained are usually very similar to each other. What do you think about these AI tools applied in the creation of art? 

AM: Though they are not in the form of art understood by us today, I believe that they are the pioneers of futuristic art. They can be addressed as scientific engineering of images rather than spiritually created forms of art. 

PH: Ali, what is your vision of the world 20 years from now? 

AM: That is a whole new concept. I can’t tell 20 years but let me interpret the coming 40 years: Mostly the work will be transferred from humans to machinery. Money will be obsolete. Trade system will be back in the form of digital handshakes. Wars will be over as killing people won’t be the main attraction but controlling the robotics will be on the throne. Hopefully the countries will open their borders to all humanity since people won’t be looking for jobs anymore and they will need more tourists. 


From AC we really appreciate that Ali Murat has given us this space to talk with him, learn more about his projects and contributions to human knowledge.

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