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Art and artificial intelligence

By Max Burkhalter
October 18, 2022

Early in September 2022, one of the Colorado State Fair's annual art competition blue ribbon winners took an unconventional approach to his work. "Théâtre D'opéra Spatial" was the result of Jason M. Allen's artificial intelligence (AI) generated prompt, through Midjourney, a popular AI art engine. "[A]n independent research lab exploring new mediums of thought and expanding the imaginative powers of the human species," via the organization's website.

Allen, speaking with The New York Times, said that he was out to prove a point to artists scared of AI tools. He urged artists to not direct their anger toward those who would use AI to create art but toward companies that would seek to replace human artists entirely with AI generation.

"This isn't going to stop. Art is dead, dude. It's over. AI won. Humans lost." Allen told the Times.

Naturally, artists, who put in more work and thought than typing in a prompt into a website and waiting merely minutes for complete works, were upset. Social media channels were flooded with sharp critiques and complaints. 

New technology in the arts creating controversy isn't new — even photography is believed by some to not be fine art. The issue that critics seem to take with AI is that human beings have taught it how to paint and sculpt on its own.

But in truth, as with all mediums a creator uses, the results stem from the creator's use of the said medium. Blaming the new technology itself as the source of corruption is often misguided.

Machine learning-generated art is still missing some core components. It doesn't have the benefit of a fully lived human experience. Nor does it have the understanding of and inspiration from other people, places or politics. It lacks social context and can only tell stories as well as the prompt that a human user provides.

"Early works with AI in the arts have a likelihood of being significant and experimental with what neural-like systems can generate — a new tool to investigate nature, culture ideas, perception and the workings of our own minds." Blaise Aguera y Arcas, of the Artificial Intelligence in Action non-profit states.

Where AI will go from here is anyone's guess. Early signs point to it reshaping and reconfiguring entire industries. 

Perle Systems is doing its part in AI implementation in major industries. Learn more by reaching out for a conversation with a member of our team today.


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