The Impact of AI on Art:
Redefining Creation and Value
By R. Craig
January 23, 2023
The emergence of easily accessible AI programs capable of generating art has sparked widespread discussions about the future of the artistic landscape. These programs, using submitted prompts, can now produce original images that are nearly indistinguishable from those crafted by human hands. This raises important questions about how artificial intelligence will reshape the art world, particularly regarding the determination of both social and monetary value.
Understanding AI's Artistic Process
AI programs designed for art creation rely on vast databases of internet knowledge. When tasked with generating original images, these programs utilize pre-existing images and information to craft new pieces that embody the qualities of the source material. For instance, if prompted to create an image of a sunset over a mountainous landscape, the AI program will analyze images featuring these elements and synthesize new visuals incorporating similar lines, shapes, colors, and lighting. The resulting images are entirely original but bear the essence and structure of the vast collection of knowledge accessible to the program.
Blurring the Line between AI and Human Artistry
AI-generated images have reached a level of realism that often renders them indistinguishable from human-made art. In fact, an AI-generated image recently participated in an art competition and emerged as the winner, fooling the judges—classically trained artists with extensive experience in the art world. Early AI-generated art may have lacked inspiration and warmth, but as the technology progressed, so did the quality of the art. Now, AI can produce pieces that closely resemble fine art, with viewers unable to discern their true origins. This seamless resemblance stems from AI's ability to mimic the qualities and attributes it detects by drawing from millions of existing human-made artworks.
The Relevance of Human Artists in the Age of AI
While AI can create art that mirrors the appearance of human-crafted pieces, it fails to replicate the essence of what human artists uniquely offer. For artists, the act of creation encompasses more than visually rendering an image on a canvas. Art, as practised by humans, engages in a profound conversation between the artist and the audience. When artists create, they capture and interpret distinct emotions and experiences, transforming intangible concepts into tangible visual representations. Artists possess the ability to translate the enigmatic realm of human existence into shared expressions that resonate with us all. Although AI-generated art may appear strikingly similar, it can never supplant the artist's role in uncovering the unknown and enabling humanity to collectively navigate its own existence.
In this evolving landscape where AI-produced art converges with human creativity, artists continue to hold a crucial place as the purveyors of profound human experiences, transcending the mere replication of visual aesthetics.