From Human to Machine: AI Art and Its Implications

Nathan Nozea, Staff Writer

November 13, 2023

Ever since the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT and Adobe Generative Fill, the world has been in a constant uproar. Industries that were once deemed “safe,” such as writing or photography, are now at threat of being overrun by AI. One of the industries that has encountered the horrific impacts of AI is the art industry. Due to the creation of an AI program known as DALL-E, non-artists are able to create any generated image they want in a matter of seconds. This new AI program has threatened many professional artists in their work, as they find more and more of their clients relying on AI rather than their own personal talent. As a result, with the looming threat of the art industry’s decline, we’ll hone in on Nobles’ community artists and examine their stance on AI Art. 

For the most part, many artists at Nobles view AI as a new advantage. “[AI] accelerates the research and brainstorming process. [It allows] you to have a more concrete idea of what you want to create, but it’s not necessarily doing the artwork for you either,” Chris Xue (Class I) said. Visual Arts Faculty Betsy VanOot agrees with the idea that AI will make the process of creating art much easier. “[AI Art] is going to be a super powerful tool. You’ll be able to generate iterations of an idea really fast, and you’ll be able to refine those ideas really fast,” she said.

However, it is important to note that while AI will definitely prove to be a useful tool for artists, there is still debate over the ethics of using AI art. Unknown to many who use generative art programs, AI art often steals the styles of prominent artists online. This phenomenon causes many artists to warn others against the use of AI Art programs like DALL-E. Xue said, “[AI Art] takes pieces of original artwork and doesn’t credit the creator…it’s unfair for a lot of artists who work many hours to create a piece and spend years and a lot of money to harness their artistic abilities.”

While all artists agree that AI Art adopts certain styles for its work, some disagree on whether AI is strictly stealing from artists or taking inspiration from a certain piece. Visual Arts Faculty David Roane puts this take into perspective. “Your task as an artist is to take the universe you’ve inherited, and, from it, fashion meaning that is authentic for you.  To do that you must remain open to the intervention of stimulus that is necessarily external to your body.  AI is one such form of potential intervention, and, dare I say, inspiration,” he said.

AI Art will also no doubt leave a lasting impression on those looking to get into art later in the future. Jade Qian (Class I) said, “[Because of AI] it’ll take literal seconds to [create art], which is such a huge time disparity when compared to creating traditional art…with this [time difference] people will get discouraged to create new pieces.” VanOot also posited that AI de-emphasizes the analysis of art. She said, “Someone [who uses an image generator] will come up with an image that’s generated [they will] think is cool but [likely won’t] know the cultural ramifications of the piece.”

Despite the issues AI art presents to the art industry, Nobles’ artists are hopeful that the number of artists will continue to grow despite its emergence. Mandy Chukwu (Class III) said, “[Those] who started art really young will know their value and enjoy [the process] of making art.” Adding on to Chukwu, VanOot said, “People are [still] going to be interested in painting as a tool…[AI] will broaden the spectrum of things people are doing, but it won’t impact the [art industry] that much.” Roane agrees with both of their sentiments. “The human mind is infinite.  In terms of potential, AI can set the floor of what you’re capable of, but your mind will always set the ceiling,” he said. 

The tangible effects of AI on the art industry are still unknown. To the Nobles artists who are scared of its impact: make sure to understand these new AI Art programs. Instead of fearing it, remember that just like a paintbrush or a pencil, AI is a tool that can be used to aid you in the process of creating art.

(Photo Credit: Nautilus Magazine)

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