Art’ from Artificial Intelligence is Not ‘Art’
Follow the money.
Is art generated by artificial intelligence really art?
Art’ from Artificial Intelligence is Not ‘Art’. Do humans have a firm concept of what art is or is not? Artist and author Robyn Jamison believes art made from artificial intelligence is not art. She also has a definition for what is. According to Jamison, “art is the visual (or audial or even haptic) expression of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” Absent the ‘human’ in this definition makes the case for AI generated art as art is disqualified.
What Is Art from Artificial Intelligence
There are computer programs that can take words, phrases, images, and even sounds to create works of art. According to Smithsonian, “most of the AI artworks that have emerged over the past few years have used a class of algorithms called generative adversarial networks (GANs).”
American Scientist stated, “computer scientist Ian Goodfellow named these algorithms “adversarial” because there are two sides to them. One side generates random images; the other has been taught, via the input, how to judge these images and deem which best align with the input.”
Author Jamison summarized the contribution of AI this way, “computer programs and programmers use math (in the form of algorithms) to manipulate data in the form of images, words, and sound.” Jamison continued, “the result is what some claim is art. I disagree. Math is not art, it’s numbers.”
Humans designed, built, wrote, and executed the ability to do this type of work. Would AI generated art have its own category as “AI Enhanced?”
Media Attention for AI Generated Art
Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated art received media coverage late in the summer of 2022. The genesis of this added focus was based on a work by artist Jason Allen. Allen is a video game designer from Pueblo, Colorado. He spent roughly 80 hours working on his entry to the Colorado State Fair’s digital arts competition with his work, Théâtre D’opéra Spatial.
Allen won first place at the Colorado State Fair. Allen created Théâtre D’opéra Spatial by entering words and phrases into program called, ‘Midjourney.’ The program produced more than 900 images from which Allen chose his three favorites.
He took those three images and continued editing in Photoshop. As a final step he used Gigapixel to sharpen and clean up the images. He next printed the works on canvas. Judges awarded him first place, which came with a $300 prize. Allen insisted he had advised the judges that his entry was created using AI. The two judges claimed not to have known this but said they would have awarded Allen first place regardless.
Follow The Money
Art works made from or enhanced by AI are interesting, often compelling, and even collectible. While artists like Jamison do not believe these works are art, they do deliver value in the form of a crypto currency known as an NFT, or non-fungible token. A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, that is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership. AI is responsible for over $1 billion in digital ‘non-fungible tokens.’
“Making money from these early efforts at AI generated art is speculation on future value of a potential collectible,” Jamison said. Individuals, universities and museums have valuable collections of art because those works are original. As there are no more of a work of art, the scarcity and mortality of the artist contributes to its perceived value. “AI generated art as a collectible is no different than other collectibles like baseball cards, banana stickers, tulip bulbs or Beanie Babies,” Jamison said.
Computers As Useful Artistic Tools
Computers are useful devices for creative people to make artistic work more efficient. Writing is a good example. ‘Microsoft Word’ can correct spelling, format narratives, and even offer grammatical corrections. Word can do those things to help a writer, save him/her time and prevent small but costly mistakes. “Microsoft Word can make a narrative mistake free, but cannot write the Old Man and The Sea,” Jamison observed.
Defenders of AI Generated Art
Advocates of creative art born of computing argue that creativity and creative expression are not the result of pure intuition, memory, or original thought as there are so few ‘original thoughts.’ “Creativity is not some mystical gift that is beyond scientific study but rather something that can be investigated, simulated, and harnessed for the good of society,” wrote Ramon Lopez-de Mantaras in his book ‘Artificial Intelligence and the Arts: Toward Computational Creativity.’ “Rather than just seeing the computer as a tool to help human creators, we could see it as a creative entity in its own right.” Maybe someday, but for now computers are doing what they have always done. Sort and organize data based on the requirements of a human programmer.
“Should computers achieve consciousness, self-awareness and independent thought the same as humans, then they will be capable of producing art, medicine, and creations we humans cannot fathom,” Jamison concluded. “Until then, no matter how great these works may look, they are binary code. A collection of zeroes and ones and nothing more.”
About Robyn Jamison
Robyn Jamison is a visual artist and published author. She has a Master of Fine Art degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Kansas. Her work is in collections worldwide. She and her husband live in Austin, Texas. To learn more about Robyn Jamison, visit her web site: https://robynjamison.com/.
CAPTION: A Colorado man won first place at the State Fair using artificial intelligence to create artwork. This is the image he developed and won with
“Art is the visual (or audial and even haptic) expression of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power,” – Robyn Jamison.