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OPINION: AI vs The Arts

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become increasingly accessible over the past few years. AI software like Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer (ChatGPT) and even TikTok filters with AI image generation are a display of how easy it is to generate images and even whole essays. AI in higher education as a form of plagiarism is another topic entirely, but I'm here to talk about it from the art perspective.

In 2022, at the Colorado State Fair, an artist named Jason M. Allen won an award for emerging digital artists with a piece generated with AI software. Other artists that had also entered the competition were upset by this, as well as artists online when they found out about the victory. Some arguments have been made that generating art through AI engines still requires some level of creativity in terms of what words to add to the generator. From my perspective, I tend to disagree. Generating images through AI, in my opinion, does not produce art, it produces an image. Art is a reflection of humanity, and to suggest that a computer could produce something similar to art is not reflective of the human spirit.

AI generated art also hurts artists by affecting their job opportunities. If people can generate any image they can imagine, there’s no motivation to support artists by purchasing art. Art allows people to create simply from the desire to create something, and that process is arguably the most important part. AI takes away the process of allowing someone to create an idea and translate it into something tangible. AI can’t generate symbolism or personal connection in the same way that art has historically evoked emotion and meaning. Not all art needs symbolism or personal connection nor does it need a meaning to be enjoyed, but it needs a purpose and a creator. To disconnect art from its creator is to potentially eliminate its value.

Another issue I take with AI generated art is its ability to create images that are unimaginable to the human brain. In Japan, there is a group of designers and animators who created an AI engine that is able to generate animations of the human body contorted and disfigured in ways that are physically impossible and it was created with horror animations in mind. This is a tangible example of one of my main issues with AI. I do not believe that humans should be able to see forms of the body that are beyond comprehension simply because it is possible.

One positive aspect of Artificial Intelligence is that it can create specific reference images for artists, references that could be difficult to find otherwise. This is a benefit to artists studying posing or otherwise in need of a specific reference they can’t find. But even this should not necessarily be asubstitute for art but rather a foundational layer or building block for art.

On a grand scale, artificial intelligence, I believe, can not create art because it cannot incorporate a life of experiences, it doesn’t have a sense of the same standard of creativity I associate with art and it can’t participate in the act of creation.

By Liese Devine, Features Editor

Graphic by Shae-Lynn Henderson, EIC


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