Is AI Generated Art “Less worthy”?

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Is AI Generated Art “Less worthy”?

How should we treat AI Art? How should we treat AI Assisted Art?

And, when it comes to AI, should we distinguish between “Pure AI” Art and “Hybrid AI Art”?

Without any ambition to provide a final and “the definite answer” to these questions, we will try to at least understand what is going on and explore possible approaches to this new phenomena – AI Art and AI Assisted Art.

“Disclaimer: I believe when all of us, old-school bloggers will have to make a disclaimer at the beginning of the post as it should be clear, from the beginning if the post was made by AI or human or is it a “hybrid”.

So, here comes my disclaimer: this post is made entirely by an old-fashioned, organic, imperfect human being. It took me a hell of a lot of time to write this and AI would probably to do it not just faster but better. Anyways, the pleasure of writing was all mine 🙂

So, first of all, let’s see, before there was AI, who was “entitled” to create Art? Obviously – humans, right?

And just before you jump in claiming that elephants can create art (painting, for example), please look into the training techniques that are used against these poor animals in order to force them to use the brush and the watercolor in a certain way … So, categorically – NO! No matter how much we like or love animals, what elephants (or other trained animals) are doing is not art. However, more about this in one of the future articles.

Also, in this discussion, we will also rule out “nature” as the creator of art, although, someone may rightfully claim that nature is the “ultimate” artist. Biggest of all. But, for the sake of keeping it simple (at least for the start of the discussion) we will agree, that generally speaking, one has to be human to even aspire to get their work to be qualified as Art.

So, let’s say that in order to be able to create “Art” you have to be human.

For instance, take a look at the image below (link on the image goes to the collection of similar works on Redbubble):

Prompt: “Please make the following photo: Type: Monochromatic, brown Van Dyke process, large format, close-up, macro photography, watercolor paper texture, rough edges, very narrow field of depth Subject: Orchid-petals and a orchid-column, claw and lip. Side shot, macro, couple of drops of water on petals, background lights.”

The question is: Do you like it, or not?

That should, in the end, be the ultimate question when it comes to arts, isn’t it?

We shouldn’t be like “Oh, tell me who made it or how it was made and I will tell you if I like it or not“. I mean this could be one of the possible approaches and it is always interesting to find out about the story behind some artwork, but ultimately, the question really is – Do you like it? Would you hang in on your wall? Would you give it to someone as a present?

Anyways, as you imagined, the images in this article were made in cooperation between AI and a human (me, in this case). So, who did what?

Prompt: Monochromatic photography, very sharp and very detailed image, brown Van Dyke process, large format, close-up, watercolor paper texture, rough edges, very narrow field of depth, lilly flower in bloom, side shot, background lights. HD quality, natural look.
Prompt for the image above: “Monochromatic photography, very sharp and very detailed image, brown Van Dyke process, large format, close-up, watercolor paper texture, rough edges, very narrow field of depth, lilly flower in bloom, side shot, background lights. HD quality, natural look.

Obviously, this image too was created by AI (DALLE-3) using instructions were provided by human.

AI Generated Art

Well, first of all, let’s understand that there are two ways for AI to generate visual content.

One is to just ask it to generate what it wants without any input from your side. For instance, you could just say “Surprise me.” and AI would do some random image. After that it is up to you to decide if you like it or not. One way or another, this is a purely AI generated art as you had no say in what will it look like.

Another way is something we could call:

AI Assisted Art or “Hybrid Art”

This is when you have a pretty good idea of what you want to final outcome to look like and then you use your writing skills, or even your convincing skills to explain it what is that that you want in a way that AI will understand (because AI can still not read our minds, or if the technology exist it is not available to us).

So, unless you don’t care about the outcome, you can ask AI to generate what it wants. Will you like it, it is up to you, but then this would be fully AI generated work. For the images in this article – this was not the case. I knew exactly what the photo should look like, but this time, instead of using camera to produce it, I used words. As in the Bible “In the beginning there was a word.”

So, to make the image above and below, I had to explain to AI (Dalle-3) what exactly do I want.

So, now that we understand that I used words as a tool, the question to ask is, how is camera different tool than words?

When we write the novel, or a play or a poem, words ARE the building brick of the art, but when it comes to creating visual arts, we had all kinds of tools for a very long time. From chalk to watercolors, pastels and later on, digital tools like Photoshop or Illustrator.

Until today we could not use words as a tool to create visual art. Words could have been used as a building blocs (even in visual arts) but, until now they could have not been used as a tool (in a way photographic camera or brush, or pencil is used as a tool).

Prompt: “Please make the following photography: Type: Monochromatic, B&W, Van Dyke processing, macro photography, Subject: Orchid, just 5 sparkling drops of water on petals Camera: Mamiya 6×6 Aperture: 1.2 Sharpness: Very narrow field of depth, blurred background, sharp large column Position of the subject in the frame: Centered image.”

Now, what anyone can do is, instead of using the camera or graphite, charcoal or carbon pencil or brush and watercolors – now, instead all of those we can use words. To the the limited extend of course, but it is possible.

So, if we agree that words in combination with AI can now be used as a new tool to create visual arts, the ultimate question remains: is art made by using these less worth than the art using other tools?

Of course, here is the question of skills. It takes skills and years of practice to master camera or pen or brush before we are able to materialize that ideas. Yes, it does. No doubt about that. However, it takes years to master the art of articulating our thoughts or ideas with words too – doesn’t it?

And yes, it takes time, much more time to create Art in the old-fashioned analog way then it takes now with AI, but the results can compare, isn’t it? For instance, it took me couple of hours to produce this article where AI could have done the same in a matter of seconds.

And so on.

Anyways, I guess, I will leave it here for the time being. As I said before, in my opinion, the question we should be asking our selves is: Do we like what we see or not? How something was done and with what tools, that should be less of our concern.

At least this is what I firmly believe.

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