AI image generators have advanced beyond the point of simply debating their merits. At this stage, it’s a thing of certainty that these tools will/have become powerful tools that are transforming the way we create art.
AI Art is Divisive
Some of the popular tools, including DALL-E 3 by OpenAI, Midjourney, and others, are capable of creating images that are both aesthetically pleasing and technically impressive just from text descriptions. Far beyond a toy, these AI models have been used to create a variety of creative works, including paintings, sculptures, and fashion designs.
Yes, the artistic capabilities of generative AI tools are undeniable. However, the encroachment of AI technology in the art industry, especially, has been divisive and has led to contentious and never-ending discussions about the ethical and societal implications of the technology.
Some people view AI image generators as useful tools for creative expression – and they are not wrong. AI image generators can capture the nuances of human expression, replicate various art styles, and even generate original concepts much faster than humans. This potential has opened up new possibilities for artists, designers, content creators, and generally anyone who wants to explore the visual arts.
Can AI Result in the Loss of Artistic Skill?
However, there also lie arguments and complaints from artists, illustrators, and graphic designers that the technology undermines the creative process involved in making artworks and images and could potentially disrupt the industry.
“I’m finding that a lot of people who would have hired me before are now moving to AI,” said Kelly McKernan, a Tennessee-based artist and illustrator, who complained of losing major income-generating gigs to AI, Cryptopolitan reported early this month.
Part of the arguments against AI image generators has been the unauthorised use of artists’ images from the internet to train the models. This has consequently resulted in an intense legal dispute between AI companies and artists.
“I don’t want to use the technology. It’s literally a giant stew of plagiarism,” says Gwendolyn Wood, an illustrator and graphic designer based in Seattle.
One of the key advantages AI has over human artists is the ability to generate images a lot faster. However, artists like Wood argue that no time spent in creating an image or art goes to waste.
“My response to that is that time spent creating is not wasted time. It’s incredibly important time that is nourishing to the soul,” Wood said. “I’m sympathetic to people who designed it [AI tools], but I think it will further rob our world of joyful experiences. It just makes me so sad. I hope that handmade art will remain something that matters to people.”
Wood also stated that depending on AI image generators could deprive people of the actual artistic skill and the joyful experience that comes with the creative process of physically making art.