OPINION: Is AI Destroying Art?

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Jenna Janssen

News Editor

AI generated art is here to stay. But is it “real” art? Image generated using starryai.com.

Artificial intelligence has been making advancements at lightning speed for the past couple of years,  integrating itself within the medical field, economy, schools, and more. Recently, this integration has been under debate when discussing its further involvement in art.  

Many artists have expressed that AI art will destroy their livelihood and potentially destroy human creativity as machines start to take over the field. The thought has come to mind that artists have been working their whole life to be good at this field, but someone can potentially type a few words into an auto-generated machine to create pieces of art and take credit for them. 

To make an AI system work, the system has to source from multiple artists to take elements of  their artwork and then mix and match them to create the AI art. It’s arguably exploiting the artist and not giving credit to several artists who potentially would be involved in the work.

The general development of AI in the art field is inevitable. Like all other fields being affected by AI, artists have been coming up with ideas to combat this impending integration. It’s been recommended that there should be a clear distinction between artists and AI art in the future. Artists may need to be certified,  essentially having a test that proves they are a real artist, like how lawyers and doctors have an exam to be certified in their field.

But because of the subjectivity of art, it’s impossible to classify someone as a “real” artist. The other side of this argument believes that we as humans have constantly been trying to make our lives easier through technology, which brings up the question of why people would want to pay a commission when they can use an online art generator to make what they want for free. 

Rationally, it can be argued that machines are learning from artists just how people would learn from other artists, it’s just that the machine is now doing the work. 

The fact is that right now, the way a machine is learning how to do art comes from it exploiting artists who use art as a way to live. If there’s a further development where artists are rightfully being compensated for certain elements being used in AI art, then we can talk about its benefits.

In the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.” Art is human — something a machine can’t replicate. So, why should we continue to try to make it?