When I think about Artificial Intelligence (AI), I tend to think about science and math, and science fiction. I think about ways that it will benefit us in manufacturing, education, industry, food supply, and the medical field. I think about the future mostly. It’s not often that art is brought into conversations about artificial intelligence.
Maybe it’s because art lives in a different part of our minds that we don’t mention it. We tend to associate art with things like creativity, personal expression, and culture. Not AI – no way! There are many of us, including myself, that feel very personal about art. Many people could care less about art, and I never really understood that. There are many artists adopting AI as their artistic medium, creating algorithms that manufacture printed pieces of artwork and also using it to contribute to AI-based apps and technology. Is this a trend that will come and go, or will AI hold a permanent spot in the future of art?
AI is already having an impact on the art world, from the way it is created to the way it is viewed and discussed. Claire Boucher, a musician who goes by the name of Grimes explains in this article her thoughts on the future of AI in art. She feels that, “… AI is great. I just feel like, creatively, I think A.I. can replace humans.” It’s important to note that Grimes is currently profiting off music she composed exclusively for an app that uses AI to pair music with human moods. It would be very unfortunate if her prediction that our creativity is swallowed up by AI becomes true. Regardless, I can’t help to think art will always be a human first endeavor.
In October of 2018, Christie’s in New York sold an algorithm-generated print at auction for $432,500. In 2019 a gallery in Chelsea New York held an exhibition, “Faceless Portraits Transcending Time,” a collaboration between an AI named AICAN and its creator Ahmed Elgammel. The “first solo gallery exhibit devoted to an AI artist.” Dr. Ahmed Elgammal is a computer scientist, turned artist, selling ink-jet printings for five-figures. Who am I to judge? As quoted in this article, Andy Warhol famously said, “Art is what you can get away with.” Andy Warhol was the poster child for a very similar debate while he was alive. Was Warhol actually creating art or just manufacturing images that were already created? Nowadays though, you will be hard-pressed to find someone who questions Warhol’s contribution to art.
“Until we can fully understand the brain’s creative thought processes, it’s unlikely machines will learn to replicate them.” From this Forbes article, “… AI will largely be used to enhance human creativity, not replicate or replace it – a process known as “co-creativity.”
AI has the ability to greatly disrupt the art world. How can creativity be fully expressed without the human aspect? Throughout human history, artists have created art through their own and shared experiences. It’s hard for me to imagine living in a world without humans creating art. I don’t want to see AI creating art. I’m just not ready for it. I think artists (human ones) will always have a hand in the creation of art. As John Lennon once famously said, “I’m an artist, and if you give me a tuba, I’ll bring you something out of it.”
Rolling Stone, Interview with John Lennon, http://imaginepeace.com/archives/4385#:~:text=I’m%20an%20artist%2C%20and,you%20something%20out%20of%20it.
Image of Mona Lisa from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Lisa
Image manipulated with photoshop to give the impression of a machine creating a timeless piece of art
Bogost, Ian, “The AI-Art Gold Rush Is Here.” The Atlantic, March 6, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/03/ai-created-art-invades-chelsea-gallery-scene/584134/
Vincent, James, “Twitter taught Microsoft’s AI chatbot to be a racist asshole in less than a day.” the verge, March 24, 2016, https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/24/11297050/tay-microsoft-chatbot-racist
Marcus, Ezra, “The Future According to Grimes.” The New York Times, Oct. 28, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/28/style/self-care/grimes-AI-baby-sleep.html
Marr, Bernard, 3 Predictions For The Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Art And Design, Forbes, Sept. 4, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2020/09/04/3-predictions-for-the-role-of-artificial-intelligence-in-art-and-design/?sh=5006584e5bea
Faceless Portraits Transcending Time, AICAN + Ahmed Elgammel, HG Contemporary, New York, Feb. 13- March 5, 2015