Is A.I. Ushering in the Death of Modern Art?
Should artists claim ownership of work they themselves do not create?
What do you think of the artwork accompanying this post? Looks pretty cool, eh? But…is it art?
The picture included here is the product of an Artificial Intelligence program called starryai. There are more and more of these type programs popping up online, among them DALL-E and Midjourney, which require a monthly fee to join. Utilizing these programs is quite simple. You merely type in a phrase or a string of words that sounds interesting to you, in this case I put in “death of modern art,” and you then pick among some stylized aesthetic options, and you then hit the submit button. In a matter of seconds, the program uses your phrase or words to randomly generate a composition made to resemble a painting or abstract collage. As these programs evolve, the complexity of the images they create for you also evolves.
For a novelty, this can be entertaining. If a person lacks say the skill or talent or time necessary to make something themselves, one of these tools can serve as an outlet for personal enjoyment of what it might feel like if they did possess such skill or motivation. But, it took literally no time at all for people to realize they could start using these apps as a shortcut and substitution for their own skill set or personal investment.
In Colorado recently, “artist” Jason Allen submitted an A.I.-generated work to the state art fair…and won the top blue ribbon prize. You can see the “art” below:
The judges when selecting the art, did not know that Midjourney was an A.I. tool used to create this image. However, once they found out about it, they refused to let that information alter their decision. And in doing so, they have lent unfortunate credence to the idea that an A.I.-generated image can be claimed as art by a human artist.
As an artist myself, I take extreme offense at such a notion.
Of course, everything considered art is subjective, as the value of art is subjective. Art is in the eye of the…