While doing my research for this article I came across The Night Café, an AI art generator (one of the many that you can find on the Internet) that helps you create brand new artworks with just a few clicks. The process is very simple: it is sufficient to write some random keywords into a search bar; choose an art style between matte, cosmic and cyberpunk and click the “create” button below. To give you an example, here’s what I got by typing: The future of cryptocurrencies.
The quality of the image is actually good and the machine just needs a few seconds to elaborate that. What I did was just a little fun experiment but, in the art world, AI art is already a thing. One of the most famous AI pieces is the so-called Edmond de Belamy, a 2018’s artwork that was sold at Christie’s for the considerable amount of $432,500 (the estimated value was around $10,000 before the auction).
AI art is basically a combination between mathematical patterns, algorithms and deep learning. Thanks to this, machines are able to create, with some inputs (like the keywords mentioned before) a potentially infinite variety of artistic images. This is why AI art has already generated many controversies and ethical issues and, according to some, its legitimation can actually put in danger the career of many artists. So, what we can ask ourselves is: will AI art kill art?
The question gets even more complicated if we think that AI, while creating a piece of art, can be trained to imitate the style of an artist. This is well testified by the case of Hollywood’s character designer Michael Kutsche (source: Kotaku), who saw his work replicated by an AI creation.
But AI art can also be used in conceptual ways, not as much as an end but as a means. An example is Trevor Paglen and Kate Crawford’s ImageNet Roulette: a tool that labeled user-uploaded selfies with bizarre categories (such as newsreader, femme fatale or pipe smoker) that was conceived to show how full of racial and gendered bias are the data set on which these machines are trained.
This is not the only interesting example of an accurate and artistically stimulating use of AI. The works of artists such as Agnieszka Kurant and Ian Cheng demonstrate that if AI meets real creativity it can actually become a resource and not necessarily something we must be worried about. Just think how AI can be used for video installations and immersive experiences like the ones designed by the digital art collective Ouchhh Studio.
I honestly believe that the issue with AI art is not AI art itself, it’s the critical message that humans want to convey through that. If the message is that a machine can actually do the work for an artist with better results and in far less time then the art world might have a problem; but if, on the contrary the message is that we (as humans, as artists) are able to develop an innovative tech-based form of art, well, let’s get ready to welcome AI art in our lives.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most interesting and controversial topics currently in the world of contemporary art. Here at JugaadMag, we decided to experiment with different AIs, so you’ll keep an eye on the evolution of this technology through our articles.