Writer: Abdelrahman Wael
Editor: Habiba Suliman
For decades now, many people have been afraid that AI and automation would take over most human jobs, but we thought that creative jobs would be the last to be taken over. Over the last couple of years, this belief has been put to scrutiny. For every step we think AI will take, it takes two and we all have to access our place in the brave new world it will create. Regardless, we still have to ask: can AI really do art better than humans?
Programmes like DALI 2 and bing’s image generator have shown us AI can make works of art just as beautiful as any painter can with a simple prompt. For example, if I put a prompt of “A cat riding a horse in the style of Van Gogh”, it would search for cats, horses, Van Gogh, and try to isolate all the three images/styles then combine them into one. For the record here’s how that would look. Aside from creating even more cat pictures for the internet to fawn over, the algorithm can create backgrounds for anime or western animation series, which has actually taken jobs from animators on a few occasions and it can also make realistic looking art that can pass as photographs (although not very convincingly).
For example, here’s what a prompt of “city skyline after a blizzard” would look like. At first glance it may seem like a good photo but upon further examination, we find that there are some things that don’t make sense: clouds don’t form like that, the buildings to the right seem like they’re making a staircase, and most importantly the street below is shrinking.
Anytime a new form of technology comes out, many people tend to panic and while this form of AI has definitely taken some jobs from people, it will not be the end for artists just yet for a multitude of reasons.
First among these reasons is the fact that AI can’t actually paint, it can only create digital art, which is a small piece of the art industry as wealthy art collectors only collect physical art from artists they know and believe in.
However, the most important of these reasons is that AI doesn’t actually “create” anything, it only amalgamates what it understands from the internet into one image. It can’t actually innovate; it only creates something completely new on its own. In fact, it doesn’t even know which mix of the elements it finds on the internet is the best and chooses instead to show you multiple mixes for you to choose and believe me some of the choices are not very appealing.
Artists have found that using AI has helped them find more inspiration and put their imagination onto the screen without having to sketch, so perhaps it can be used as a tool by some of the artists.
Keep in mind that writing and art are the fields that AI can actually do something convincing in; AI music is honestly very far behind as it can only create music without lyrics (it can create nonsensical human sounds to mimic lyrics) and it can only recreate music that it understands like pop, country, and classical music, but not metal, hip hop, and definitely not anything experimental. All in all, AI still has a long way to go before it takes over any field of art and will only be a tool to increase productivity for creators and a very fun thing to play with.