Painting the scene with AI


Photo Courtesy of Dream (Wombo)

Artwork generated by an AI after being given a “tide arts” prompt.

Emil Fang, Arts Writer

We live in an age of massive technological advancements. Robots replace factory workers and we walk around with miniature computers in our pockets. Technology has even spread to things that we once thought were strictly human, like artin the form of AI art programs.

AI art is artwork generated by artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability used by computer programs to replicate what humans can do. Famous examples of AI, like Siri or Amazon Alexa, can hear speech and interpret it. AI art bots, however, do not and cannot process speech. Instead, the programs they utilize are fed images by their creators. These images range from classical paintings to digital art. The AI analyzes these images and tries to copy the aesthetics and patterns that it sees. This results in high quality art pieces that can be generated within seconds of a short prompt being entered.

This makes AI art controversial. AI art changes the conventional ways art has been made for centuries. One press of a button and a prompt and a stunning work of art appears on a screen in seconds. Compare this to the traditional artist who spends hours practicing their craft to produce a single work. 

This sparks the fear that traditional artists will be replaced by AI. After all, technology has taken over many jobs. What makes artistic jobs the exception? RM art teacher Ms. Stanton said, “There’s always been discussion about technology and replacing humans and I mean, think about how we use our cell phones. We don’t even remember phone numbers. So without that device, we wouldn’t be able to call anyone. And so I think technology as a whole, not just within art, is going to be replacing our specific uses as people unless we figure out ways in which we continue to grow at the rate technologies are growing.” 

While many believe that it will replace the jobs of traditional artists, many also believe that while it will make their jobs less relevant, it will not completely eliminate current artist opportunities. Because art has been strictly human for so many decades, it holds a special place in our hearts. After all, people are much happier to receive homemade items as gifts instead of manufactured items. “I think traditional art will still be such a big part of society… and I think it’s because it’s such a special talent that people really appreciate,” AP art student Angelina Vu said. “AI art generators are similar to skilled workers and fast manufacturing…it’s very quick, it’s efficient. And that has essentially taken over the world…but you know, there are small businesses that are still running and are doing great.”

AI art isn’t all negative for today’s artists. Some have used it as a tool to generate new ideas or to get a visual of what they might want their piece to look like. Visual effects artists have seen potential in AI art programs that could potentially save them weeks of time on projects. 

Much like the camera, AI art programs could create a new field of art or assist already existing disciplines. When photography was first introduced there was a similar reaction. RM art teacher Mr. McDermott said, “People thought it would eliminate painting. Did it? No.”