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AI art: a premonition of a dystopian future

by Nina Isabelle Alolod | February 12, 2023

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” is a proverb that perfectly describes how most of our technology today came to be. But with all the advancements made throughout years of progress, what inventions can truly be considered a necessity?

Though it has recently risen in popularity, artificial intelligence (AI) was created prior to the 21st century. In an article written by Rockwell Anyoha, the first AI program conceptualized was the Logic Theorist; a program that was designed to mimic the problem-solving skills of a human.

Presently, AI manifests itself within the realms of technology, banking, marketing, and entertainment. As of this year, however, there has been a rise in the discourse surrounding the use of AI. The most notable example of this instance is the ethics of AI art where programs like Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and DALL-E generate images based on text prompts.

While creating art with a few keywords sounds like an exciting prospect, the premise of AI art (if you can even call it art) is actually founded on the millions of artworks taken from actual artists without their consent. At its core, the outputs generated from AI programs are nothing more than a bastardization of multiple stolen works of art from various artists.

The exploitation of human artists doesn’t end after death either. Just three days after beloved Korean artist Kim Jung Gi passed away, a former game developer known online as 5you posted a Tweet announcing that he had created a tool based on Stable Diffusion that could generate images in Kim’s distinctive style and encouraged others to use it as long as he was given credit.

When the co-founder of Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki was presented with a program that generated methods of locomotion for humanoid forms through AI, he immediately affirms his rejection of it saying, “I strongly feel that this is an insult to life itself.”

Despite AI art becoming a technological achievement, it can never truly be considered art. While the definition of art is inherently subjective, art is and always will be an expression of humanity. 

The rise of AI programs as of late, even with its convenience, heralds a grim future of automated products. Given ten or twenty years, just how much of humanity’s works can truly be considered ‘man-made’?

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