Last month, an AI (Artificial Intelligence) generated art titled Théâtre d’Opéra Spatial won the first prize in the annual Colorado State Fair’s digital arts competition. The image is a futuristic but also Renaissance style scene with three women in traditional dresses in an ornate room with the large circular viewport to the outside of world. The 150-old contest doesn’t have a rule about AI-generated art and also, the artist was open about using AI when he submitted his work, so his win was totally legit, yet it did stir up a debate. Some said, “We’re watching the death of artistry unfold right before our eyes.”
Is it though? I understand people’s frustrations. Yes, I’ve raised my concerns about the creative world being supplanted by AI before, but I have mixed feelings about this because I know how much effort the artist invested to create it. He spent 80 hours, feeding texts to AI, choosing one out of hundreds of iteration of the art, upscaling the image with Gigapixel AI, and printing it on a canvas. You may think you’ll get a winning art piece if you use AI, but it’s not that simple. You can’t tell AI to create a piece of art and expect to win the contest. You need to do the work, too. Feeding texts requires fine tuning. In fact, he kept trying different words until he found the image he liked. More than 900 iterations of the art have been generated. Honestly, I don’t know what words would make outstanding art, how many words are too many or too few, or how to choose a winning piece.
What is art? Do you remember the bananas being taped on the wall at the Art Basel Miami Beach? They sold for $120K each. What about the pair of glasses left on a gallery floor? It was mistaken for art and has beaten artists. If they’re considered art, can we welcome AI generated art, too? Andy Warhol once said “Art is what you can get away with.” Maybe art is made out of extraordinary ideas. Maybe art comes from accidents or maybe when rules are broken.
But if we accept it as art, I still have many questions. Where do we draw a line of plagiarism? Obviously, AI creates unique art inspired by a massive amount of artwork from the past, but isn’t that what artists do? Get inspired by other artists? Who owns it, AI or the artist? According to the US Copyright Office’s report, only “original works of authorship” are considered. “To qualify as a work of ‘authorship’ a work must be created by a human being,” which means AI-generated art cannot obtain copyrights. If an artist paints based on the AI-generated art he worked on, can he get copyrights? Did I tell you that I have mixed feelings?
Hey, if I have AI write original content, would you be interested in reading it? Do you think you can tell who wrote it?