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AI & The Future of Art

The idea of AI is not entirely new, it has been around for a while now, with automated checkout counters at the supermarkets, online banking, and pretty much every app on our smartphones, but it also seems to be creeping its way into our artistic lives too, and it got me rather curious. Is this the future of the artist? Are we to cast away our traditional manual methods of creativity only to be replaced by typing keywords into an AI art generation platform? Will artists be happy to do this, and will buyers be happy with the result?

I read an article this morning about an artist entering an AI generated artwork into a competition, and the work was chosen as the outright winner. This clearly shows that humans cannot differentiate between human generated work where someone (a human) has spent real time and effort, and that of a machine programmed to spit out what it is prompted to create in a matter of seconds.

In the article it was argued that AI generated work is somehow 'unfair' because it only takes bits from previously created works and puts them together in a new manner...but is that perhaps what artists have done for centuries? We study the works of the masters and spend time looking at works of contemporary artists and then, from the works that have inspired us, we take bits and pieces that have been locked away into our subconscious, only to recreate them in our own way?

Some artists get very angry and upset at the mention of AI generated art, and say it is not 'REAL' art. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the fact of the matter seems to be that AI is here to stay and it will only be improving with every day that passes. I am not entirely sure how I feel about all this.

I have dabbled with some of the apps, mainly because I wanted to know how it actually works. It was quite interesting really, you type in several prompts, and choose a few categories and the programmes generate 4 images. You can then keep the images as they are, or choose to download them and continue to alter or tweak the images. For me, personally, I find that the thrill in creating artwork is in the actual, physical creation of the work. I love the act of making, and creating, and AI removes the physical creation, and so for this reason alone, I could never see myself fully abandoning my artistic practise, no matter how far AI advances.

However, on the other side of the coin, from the business aspect of selling art - it seems very apparent that customers like AI generated work just as much as human generated work, and will purchase indiscriminately. For the sole objective of making an income, AI seems to tick a lot of boxes, because you can literally mass produce works of art that would have traditionally taken a LOT of time.

I am very curious how other artists feel about this subject. Feel free to type your response below and continue the discussion.

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I've been using the new AI neural net softwares for about a year and half now. I use a lot of the main commercial softwares (Midjourney, Dalle, Stable Diffusion, RunwayML's latest Gen-1 video beta, ChatGPT) as well as using some outside-the-box self-coding applications for images, video, and text creation. My main take on the technology is that it is a brilliant collage machine and an interesting way to "remix" bits and pieces of the visual, digitized world. In terms of replicating audience-pleasing styles and recognizable forms in new configurations, the thing works like a charm. And because it is automateable, you can leave it running and produce a million picasso knock offs in a week. That said, if you go…


Darryl Vance
Darryl Vance
Oct 04, 2022

I'm of the opinion that AI is just another tool for artists to use. For hundreds of years, artists and civilians alike have furrowed their brows over the idea that suddenly machines can supplant "talent" (i.e. a convincing reproduction of reality). But, the notion of push-button mediums and their deleterious relationship to myths of cultural progress, authenticity and value was put to rest long ago (see also: Walter Benjamin). The real faux dilemma for artists now is will AI become sentient enough to create art without prompts from humans, in effect being able to replicate the human desire to make an object of no other value than pleasure and satisfaction. It isn't so much that AI can make art, but d…

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