The rise of generative Artificial Intelligence demands urgent reflections on what it means not only to make art but also to make money making art.


Copyright: – “Artificial Intelligence: Imitation of Art or Creative Supertool?”


Whether we realize it or not, a great many writers have been using A.I. daily for decades. Spell check, after all, was born in 1971 at Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. It became a common tool in Word sometime in the early aughts, and I remember having a sense then that using it was somehow cheating. I wasn’t alone in feeling this way, but at some point, it started feeling lazy not to use spell check. Besides, the artistry isn’t in the ability to spell words correctly but the ability to synthesize experiences into words people can relate to.

In the wake of powerful new expressions of A.I., like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and a slew of other generative models, the line between the artist and the tool is starting to blur. The implications are massive, both in terms of how people leverage creativity to make a living and in how we decide to define art.

When it comes to our notion of work, the new maxim on the streets bears sober consideration: A.I. isn’t coming for your job; someone using A.I. is coming for your job. A graphic designer leveraging tools like text to image, sketch to image, generative fill and text effects from Firefly, Adobe (ADBE)’s beta collection of generative models, is likely to outpace the designer who isn’t using them.

It’s rather exciting in the near term, but it raises questions about what could happen when these tools outpace the graphic designer using them. Is that a bad thing? The answer probably depends on your view of capitalism or how intertwined your work is with your identity. I see the glimmer of a possibility that by automating the tedium that fills so much of our lives, A.I. might help us break free from the productivity mindset that requires using quantity as a metric of accomplishment instead of quality.

In this moment, however, the sheer power of these nascent tools prompts another question: Will models this powerful and ubiquitous initiate the ruinous decimation of human creation? An artistic armageddon?[…]

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