AI Ate My Hamster, But Is It Art? – Paul Carter Robinson

Max Headroom One of the first AI creations

AI has been all over the papers lately. It has even prompted Government intervention on both sides of the pond. Like some kind of incurable virus or toxic cloud of our own making, the threat is much ado about nothing… If only the powers that be would take climate change as seriously, we might not be wading into global armageddon.

If you look at the results of using AI alongside screenwriting, it can be a basic tool like Grammarly (an advanced form of Spellcheck), but it will NEVER replace Screenwriters. Go and see the Barbie Movie…get back to work!

As for Fine Art, if you are a fan of the soulless manufactured Fantasy/Manga Art available on Deviant Art, then we may have a problem. Still, in my opinion, I say shut it down, go back to Art School and start making real Art with emotion, quality and value. After all, look at Damien Hirst’s latest work. It proves anyone can now make an AI Spin Painting for £6k. The result is a valueless contribution to the history of Art, but the hype is there, (over $20m sold) and after all, we know Damien is better at being a Conceptual Artist then a traditional painter. Just look at his new ‘Canvas-Art’.

Damien Hirst's Latest Paintings Photo Courtesy Heni
Damien Hirst’s Latest 2023 Paintings Photo Courtesy Heni

Whether AI-generated Art can be considered “real art” is a topic of ongoing debate and discussion in the art world. The answer to this question can be subjective and vary depending on individual perspectives and beliefs about Art.

AI-generated Art uses artificial intelligence algorithms and computer programs to create visual or auditory artworks. These algorithms can analyse existing artworks, learn patterns, and generate new works based on that knowledge. AI art can encompass various mediums, including paintings, music, literature, poetry, and more. However, most of the product I have seen generated by AI is clumsy, overtly commercial and sometimes laugh out loud contrived.

Supporters of AI Art argue that it can be considered ‘Real Art’ because: AI algorithms can produce unknown and unexpected results, demonstrating creativity that challenges traditional notions of human creativity. Sorry, boys and girls, it can’t! Or I’ve not seen it yet. Are you really threatened by AIda, the robot painter? Apologies, the work sucks!

Emotional Impact: AI-generated Art can evoke emotional responses in viewers or listeners, similar to how traditional Art can stir emotions. No! Ai Art is still in its infancy and will take a lot of tweaking to be collectable or passable in the real world. Like art painted by chimps and elephants it has a market but will never, in the foreseeable future be more than a novelty.

If an AI artwork’s creator is a human artist who intentionally uses AI as a tool in their creative process, does their purpose and vision play a crucial role in the final artwork? Some critics question whether AI art can be classified as “Real Art”.

Lack of Consciousness: AI algorithms lack consciousness and self-awareness, which some argue is essential to human creativity and artistic expression. Whose pulling the wool over our eyes? This is not great Art! Dependency on Human Input: AI algorithms rely on data and training provided by humans, raising questions about the genuine autonomy and originality of AI-generated Art. Remember HAL 9000 the AI computer in 2001 a Space Odyssey singing Daisy…

Devaluation of Human Artistry: Some argue that promoting AI-generated Art as equivalent to human-created Art might diminish the value and significance of the unique skills and experiences that human artists bring to their work. To use Jeff Koons as an example, His sculpture and paintings are produced by others so there is no direct craftsmanship involved in the process. His work is therefore Conceptually generated and would be a prime candidate for AI Art. We are clearly not there yet, not to say AI Art couldn’t have a place in the future. All new mediums are scary at first but then as technology moves on we learn to harness it in useful ways. Ultimately, the definition of Art and what qualifies as “Real Art” has evolved throughout history. As technology advances, the boundaries of Art and creativity will likely be further challenged. Whether AI art is considered “Real Art” may depend on the context, the intentions of the creator, and individual perspectives within the art community and society.

On NFTs:

NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are a type of digital asset that represent ownership or proof of authenticity of a unique item or piece of content on a blockchain. NFTs have gained significant attention and popularity in Art, as they have been used to tokenise digital artworks, music, videos, virtual real estate, and other digital creations.

Whether NFTs represent “Real Art” is a subject of an ongoing debate and interpretation, much like the debate surrounding AI-generated Art. The question hinges on one’s definition and understanding of Art.

Some arguments in favour of considering NFTs ‘Real Art’ include the following:

Creativity and Expression: NFTs can represent unique digital artworks created by artists using various digital tools and technologies. These artworks can express creativity and convey artistic intent. Value and Market: NFTs have been bought and sold for significant amounts, demonstrating a market and demand for these digital creations, similar to traditional Art. The bottom line remains these are editions just like any silkscreen, etching or lithograph.

Ownership and Authenticity: NFTs use blockchain technology to verify ownership and authenticity, providing a way to prove the provenance of digital assets, which is an essential aspect of the art market.

On the other hand, some arguments against considering NFTs ‘Real Art’ include:

Digital vs Physical: Some critics argue that Art, by definition, is traditionally associated with physical objects, and NFTs are purely digital assets.

Reproducibility: While an NFT may represent ownership of a unique digital artwork, the artwork itself can often be easily copied or accessed by anyone, leading to questions about the actual scarcity and value of the digital asset.

Artistic Merit: There are varying opinions on the artistic merit and value of NFT artworks. Some traditional art enthusiasts might not fully embrace or appreciate digital Art in this form.

Ultimately, classifying NFTs as “real art” is subjective and depends on individual perspectives and definitions of Art. The art world constantly evolves, and new forms of artistic expression, including those enabled by technology and blockchain, challenge conventional notions of what constitutes Art.

A notable example of AI being used in creating ‘Fine Art’ is Beeple’s AI-generated works in his series of “Everyday: The First 5000 Days,” a digital collage that he made by combining his daily art pieces into a single NFT (Non-Fungible Token) artwork. Christie’s sold This artwork at auction in March 2021 for a staggering sum of $16m, making it the most expensive NFT sale yet.

Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, is a prominent digital artist known for his pioneering work in AI-generated Art. He gained significant recognition for his daily art project, creating and posting new digital artwork every day for over a decade.

Beeple’s success in the digital art world, combined with his experiments in AI-generated Art, has had a significant impact on the art world. He has played a role in bringing attention to the potential of AI as a creative tool and has inspired other artists to explore the intersection of Art and technology.

Beeple’s work showcases how AI can be harnessed as a powerful tool in the hands of artists, expanding the boundaries of creativity and opening up new possibilities for artistic expression in the digital age.God help us if this technology threatens anyone.

Top Photo: Max Headroom/Art Of Noise PC Robinson © Artlyst 2023

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