Many creative people speak of inspiration as being something separate from themselves. Even some of the best artists struggle to explain where the impulses they follow originate. They speak of a meditative state through which they’re half guided, half led.
Did you know it takes 4 years to receive a bachelor’s in art? Even after years of study, nothing guarantees you’ll be any good. Whatever the secret to creating masterpieces is, it’s something that can’t be achieved by following a formula or receiving a certificate.
But if that’s true, how is it possible for complex algorithms to appear so creative? What is AI art, anyway? Read on to find out more!
What Is AI Art?
Artificial intelligence may be the next step in our evolution. If it stands to reason that primates can evolve into human beings, perhaps AI is the next step of our own. This might seem far-fetched, but what isn’t when you think about it?
Weirdness isn’t any sort of barrier when it comes to the facts of the matter. Things happen all the time despite our opinions of them. The advent of AI may well be the butterfly to our chrysalis.
Human beings can make art even though we’re unsure where the impulse comes from, or what its evolutionary purpose might be. The rise of AI creating art of its own raises a lot of interesting questions. Can art truly be created by a non-human intellect, or is it the defining requirement for the distinction of humanity itself?
AI Creativity and Snobbery
Change is terrifying and causes a lot of friction, especially within niches where people proclaim themselves to be knowledgeable. The art world is currently being shaken apart by AI, as everything people thought of as inviolate is turned on its head. What was once sacrosanct is now becoming freely available to the unwashed masses.
This is an interesting turn of events. Art and creativity in general are free to be practiced by anyone with half a chewed pencil and a scrap of paper. Somehow this fact hasn’t stopped the upper echelons of the art world from turning into one of the most viciously gate-kept areas anywhere.
The thought of a mere algorithm being capable of creation has the experts reeling. AI art might not rankle if it wasn’t so breathtakingly adept, but there’s no denying it. Not only is AI-generated art here to stay, but it’s also improving at break-neck speed without any sign of slowing down.
Degrees of Technology
We don’t get annoyed at a sharp stick for being better at poking holes than we are. After all, we’re natural, we made it, and it’s no less natural for having been sharpened. If you zoom out of this metaphorical picture, you’ll see artificial intelligence is much the same thing.
The common argument is that since AI isn’t natural, it can’t create true art. Our hubris as human beings states that only we are capable, and don’t take kindly to potential usurpation. If we take a broader perspective, we see that AI is just a tool, and every bit as natural as a sharpened stick is, despite its complexity.
AI autonomy is just around the corner. This is terrifying but doesn’t preclude any ability to create genuine art.
Is finger painting a purer form of artistic expression than that done with a fine-tipped brush? I would argue not. The big difference here is that we’re not yet used to paintbrushes continuing to paint unbidden.
We don’t like the idea of art being created without our hands on the reins. The reality of the situation is that although we’re not in direct control, the thing is stamped indelibly with a very human brand. Art that creates art is still art!
The Origin Problem, How AI Creates Art
Artists are understandably wary of the development of AI drawing and art in general. An AI that creates art doesn’t start with a blank slate, it’s drawing on creations scraped from the internet. The vast majority of reference material available for AI to learn from is, unfortunately, stolen.
It doesn’t take much of an imaginative leap to understand why artists are annoyed at this. They often devote their entire lives to nurturing a style specific to themselves, which takes thousands of hours. Discontent, lack of self-belief, harsh critics all overcome only to have your work stolen and replicated by an algorithm.
AI art and AI artists are both seen as somewhat parasitic because they’re essentially taking a shortcut to mastery. This is even more galling to the artists whose art enabled AI art to bear fruit because they’re not reimbursed. And it’s all perfectly legal, so there’s not even any grounds for legal action.
What takes an artist hundreds of hours to complete after thousands of hours of training is replaced by an AI art generator in the space of minutes. Using the artists’ work as a reference. How would you feel?
At this point, artificial intelligence is a runaway train. There’s no stopping it, and its influence is only going to grow exponentially in the next few years. Soon, life as we know it could very well be completely unrecognizable.
As for the question of What is AI art?, it all depends on your perspective. At this point, your guess is as good as the next person’s.
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