How AI Art Will Change the World

Despite what many people think, AI has actually been a part of our lives for many years now. When you write a text or an email and your phone suggests the next word, that is AI. Spam filters, personalized advertisements, facial recognition technologies, and so much more are examples of the common forms of AI we all have gotten used to. 

With all that being said, we are currently living in the middle of an AI technology explosion. The simple uses of AI I just discussed now look like peanuts compared to AI programs like ChatGPT, DALLE 2, and Midjourney. 

We have already written about how AI writing assistants will change the world, so now it is time we take a look at some of the ways AI art will change the world as we know it. 

First, we will discuss what exactly we mean when we talk about AI art. Then we will get into some of the challenges of using AI art, and finally, we will discuss how we think AI art will affect our lives. 

What is AI art?

Very simply put, AI art is art created using an AI image generator. The obvious question you are probably asking yourself is “how do AI image generators work?” This is a great question with a complicated answer. The reason this is a complicated question is because there are different kinds of AI image generators

The first, and most popular, type of AI image generation models are called autoencoders. Autoencoders work by compressing images into smaller, low-dimensional images and then bringing that image back to its original size with changes that make the image look much different. 

In autoencoder models, images can undergo tons of changes to each pixel until the image is completely different. What changes to make and when changes are made are things the model is taught by developers who train the models using other forms of artwork

On the other hand, generative adversarial networks (GANs) use neural networks that are trained to work together. One network is  a generator and the other is a discriminator. The generator creates new images from random and the discriminator tries to distinguish between real images and generated ones. 

The two networks are trained together in a process called “adversarial training.” This training method rewards the generator for creating images the discriminator fails to recognize as fake images. The discriminator is rewarded for correctly identifying non-generated images.

Finally, autoregressive models work by basically creating one pixel at a time and then building off that pixel until a full image is made. These models are predictive models, so they take into account what has come before when creating what comes next. Like autoencoder and GAN models, these programs require significant training.

Issues AI art needs to overcome before taking over the world

As excited as we are about AI art, there are significant hurdles AI art developers need to clear before AI art can really revolutionize the world. Some of these challenges are legal, others are technological, and more often than not, these areas intersect. 

First and foremost, AI art needs to solve the problem of whether AI art is actually legal. The main challenge AI art faces is that AI image generators are trained using artwork created by real, human artists. Often, this results in AI art generators creating images that are strikingly similar to copyrighted works of art created by human artists who did consent to their work being used to train an AI model.

At a basic level, the issue is one of ownership and plagiarism. Artists claim AI image generators are infringing on their copyright. AI program developers say their use of copyrighted work is covered under free use. The courts will decide who is right, but for now, the issue is very much up for debate.

If the courts do decide that generative AI models do infringe on artists’ copyrights, AI developers could be in a lot of trouble. First, they will need to figure out what to do with their existing models that were trained using copyrighted works. Will they have to retrain their models using copyright-free images? Or will AI developers opt for something different, like compensating artists for the images they used to train their models? 

The issue of how to deal with potential copyright infringements is one of the issues at the intersection of technology and law, of which there are many, but there are also many technological issues AI developers need to address. The main one is overcoming the uncanny valley. 

The uncanny valley effect is when something looks slightly off in a way that we react to negatively. For example, some people have described Apple’s SIRI program as creating an uncanny valley feeling due to the human-like nature of “her” obviously robotic voice. Famous AI robots, like Hanson Robotics’ SOPHIA are also very notable examples of the uncanny valley.

A huge problem with AI art right now is that a lot of what it creates falls into the uncanny value. People have too big of eyes, extra-wide smiles, too many fingers, too many teeth, and many more unnatural features. Sometimes images are blurred, faded, or merging into each other, adding an eerie tone to many seemingly normal images. These are just two examples of how AI art can sometimes be more unsettling than attractive. Overcoming the uncanny valley will be a major step in AI’s journey to becoming a part of everyday life.

Ways AI art will change the world

Now that we have discussed how AI art is made and some of the challenges AI art developers face, let’s get into the very real effects of AI art we will see in the coming years.

AI art programs let anyone be an artist

Unfortunately, not everyone is gifted with great artistic ability. Even for gifted people, it would take years of practice to create great art. Now, people can create masterpieces with just a few sentences. Never in the history of the world has making art been easier, thanks to AI art.

Whether creating AI art actually makes you an artist is very debatable and something we will get into later. What is not debatable is that the people who really enjoy creating AI art feel like they are artists. These people are chasing the feeling of being an artist, which is not something you can buy from an artist, so thankfully this is one way AI art will change the world that will not take away from traditional artists.

AI art will help people create their brands

For up-and-coming bloggers, musicians, and entrepreneurs having a professional brand identity, logo, and pictures to go along with your work can be a game changer when trying to grow your “brand.” 

In previous eras, you would have to be skilled with photoshop, an artist yourself, or pay an artist to help you create your brand identity and create professional content. Now, you can create logos, album covers, pictures for blog articles, and much more with a simple prompt in an AI image generator. 

Do not just take our word for it about this. Famous rapper Lil Yachty has already used AI to create an album cover. It is possible that Lil Yachty using AI is just a part of AI’s novelty as a new technology, but we think things like what Lil Yachty did will become more and more common, especially as AI programs get better at creating humans and high quality art.

We expect a future where book covers, album covers, writer avatars, brand logos, and virtually every other kind of visual art will at least partially be created by AI.

AI art makes us question what it means to be an artist and question what art is

Potentially the biggest way AI art will affect the world is how AI art changes the definition of art. There is no debating that AI art programs are capable of producing stunning pieces of visual art, but can you actually call AI art “art” if it was not created by a human? What about the person who “created” the AI artwork? Are they an artist in the same way someone like Vincent Van Gogh was. 

We do not know the answers to those questions. There are arguments on both sides that can be debated strongly. This debate is probably going to be the most dominant debate in the world of art for many years to come. Because of this, AI art has the potential to fundamentally change the way the world thinks about art and what it means to be an artist.  

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