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What’s the deal with Artificial Intelligence Art?

What’s the deal with Artificial Intelligence Art?

AI Art, or artificial intelligence art, is art created by an AI art generator. These generators are AI programs that take in existing images of art to “learn” what art is, and then they can create new works of art based on prompts. It’s somewhat like machine-created collage. You may have seen the wave of recent AI portraits from Lensa AI going around which brought up this conversation in a big way.

Lensa AI portrait of riles

Here's one I got done, as an exploration.

At first I didn’t think too much about it. But as with all things, as soon as you start really thinking critically, the problems start to arise.

One of the main problems with AI generated art is the lack of ownership. AI generated art is often created by algorithms that are used to replicate existing works of art. This means that much of the AI generated art not only lacks originality and creativity, but it’s an unauthorized copy of something that already exists. The artists whose art has powered the AI learning did not give their consent for their art to be manipulated in this way. And unlike human-powered collage which takes time, effort, and intentionality to recreate, AI-generated art can be produced in mere seconds.

This poses a real concern for the thousands of working artists who already struggle to make a living in today’s world that doesn’t prioritize craftsmanship and creativity. An alternative might be enforcing AI companies to compensate artists for using their art to train the algorithm, though this would still probably lead to a pennies-on-the-dollar form of compensation much like Spotify for musical artists today. This creates another avenue for profit extraction, where artists work hard to create unique art pieces and styles and then AI companies steal that labor to create an algorithm they can profit off of instead.

New tools for creation have always come along, and it’s historically been a hard transition as craftspeople who honed their skills for many years become obsolete. The question we have in front of us is whether AI is simply a new tool, like the printing press or camera, or whether it’s something else altogether. I don’t know if we yet have an answer, and this is what we’ll need to figure out together.

But whatever the answer is, we’ll need to keep exploring ways that we can support human creativity outside the profit-motive. Creativity is a core part of humanity, and we need to work together to ensure we don’t alienate ourselves from it.

What do you think about AI art and its impact on human creativity?

Thank you for being here 👋 I'm a queer artist who has intentionally built a life where I can work remotely and travel the world. Along the way, I'm trying to figure out how to be a good human.

I want to work together to help you create the world you want to live in. I write, make art, and create community spaces for us to to share thoughts, feelings, & opportunities for us to explore together. Being human is hard, but we can make it easier for each other. I believe in us. 💜

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