The victory of a painting with artificial intelligence angers artists
At the Colorado State Fair Annual Art Contest Awards
Wednesday – 10 Safar 1444 AH – 07 September 2022 AD Issue No. [
Theatre Dobera Special, created with artificial intelligence by Jason Alling
Colorado: Kevin Rose
This year, awards for the Colorado State Fair’s annual art competition were awarded in all the usual categories: painting, quilting, and sculpture. However, one of the contestants, Jason Allen, of Pueblo West, Colorado, did not participate with a brush or a piece of clay, but rather created the artwork that he participated in by relying on Medjerney; Artificial intelligence software that transforms lines of text into ultra-realistic graphics. His artwork, called Teatre Dobra Special, won the Blue Ribbon Award in the competition organized by the exhibition for emerging digital artists, thus becoming one of the first innovative artworks using artificial intelligence to win such an award, which sparked a strong backlash. By artists accused Allen of fraud and fraud.
In a phone call with him last Wednesday, Allen defended his work, saying that he made it clear that his work, which was presented under the name “Jason M. Allen via Medjerney”, was created using artificial intelligence, and that he had not deceived anyone about the roots of his work, adding: “I will not apologize.” . I won, and I didn’t break or break any rules.”
It is worth noting that the art based on artificial intelligence has been around for years, but the tools released this year, under names such as “Stepple Division”, “Medjerney” and “Dal E2”, made it possible for amateurs to create complex, abstract or simply realistic works, By typing a few words in a text box.
These apps have caused many artists to understandably worry about their future, wondering among themselves: Why would anyone pay for a work of art when they can create it themselves?
These apps have also sparked fierce debates about the ethics of AI-created art, as well as opposition from people who see these apps primarily as a high-tech form of plagiarism.
For his part, Allen, 39, began experimenting with the art produced by artificial intelligence this year. He runs the studio “Carnet Games”, which produces chess games. Allen was curious about the new breed of artificial intelligence capable of producing works of art comparable to the work of human artists.
This summer, Allen was invited to participate in a discussion with people who were testing Medjerney, which relies on a complex process known as “diffusion” to convert text into images. Users type a string of words into a message to Medjerney, and within seconds the program replies with a picture.
Over time, Allen became obsessed with the program, actually creating hundreds of images and amazed at how realistic they were. Regardless of what letters Allen was writing, Medjerney seemed able to turn them into works of art.
He commented on this matter by saying: “I could not believe what I was seeing, I felt as if it was inspired by Satan, and as if a force from beyond this world was involved in the matter.”
Eventually, Allen came up with the idea to present a work by Medjerney at the Colorado gallery, which has a section for digital art and digitally immersed photography. He had the help of a local shop that would print the image on canvas and present it to the judges in the competition.
“The exhibition was on,” Allen said, “and I thought, ‘How wonderful would it be to show people how wonderful this art is?'”
Several weeks later, while walking the fairgrounds in Pueblo, Allen saw a blue ribbon hanging next to his piece of art. He won his division, along with a $300 prize.
He expressed his joy: “I couldn’t believe it. I felt that was exactly what I wanted to achieve.” (Allen declined to reveal the exact script he entered into the program to create the “Deborah Special Theater,” but added that the artwork’s name bore some key hints.)
After his victory, Allen posted a photo of his award-winning artwork on the Midjourney Discord chat. The photo of the work made its way to Twitter, where it provoked angry reactions.
One Twitter user commented, “We are witnessing the death of art before our eyes.”
Another wrote: “This is so disgusting. I can understand how AI can play a useful role for art, but pretending to be an artist by creating artwork based on it? of course not”.
On the other hand, some artists defended Allen, saying that using artificial intelligence to create artwork is different from using “Photoshop” or other digital processing tools, and they explained that human creativity is still required to come up with the right ingredients to create a work of art capable of winning an award.
Olga Roebuck, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, said Allen made it clear enough about Medjerney’s involvement when he applied for his work. Allen’s department rules allow for “artistic practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process.” She stated that the two people involved in the arbitration in this section of the competition, told her that they were not aware that “Medjerney” is an artificial intelligence program, but they confirmed that they would have awarded Allen the prize even if they knew it.
On the other hand, controversy over new art-making techniques is nothing new. For example, many painters expressed their anger at the invention of the camera, which they considered a destruction of human art. (Charles Baudelaire, the French poet and art critic of the nineteenth century, described photography as “the mortal enemy of art.”)
In the twentieth century, many digital editing tools and computer-aided design software were rejected by conservative elements, as they required far less skill than human collaborators.
On the other hand, what makes the new breed of AI different is not only its ability to produce great works of art with little effort, but also the way it works, because applications such as Dal-E2 and MedJarney are built on millions of images. from the open network, and then teach a system of algorithms how to recognize patterns and relationships in these images and build new ones in the same way. This means that artists who upload their work online may inadvertently help train their competitors’ algorithms.
Digital artist RJ Palmer tweeted: “What makes this AI different is that it has been explicitly trained on the work of existing working artists. This thing is after our jobs, so it is very anti-artist.”
It is noted that even some people who are impressed with the art generated by artificial intelligence, have concerns about how to create these works of art. For example, Andy Bayou, a writer on tech issues, wrote in a recent article that Dal-E2 is probably the most noisy image-generating AI program on the market, “but it raises so many ethical questions that they are hard to address.” .
For his part, Allen, the winner of the blue ribbon, confirmed that he feels sympathy for artists who are afraid of artificial intelligence, because it would make them unemployed. However, he added, their anger should not be directed at individuals who use Dal-E2 or Medjerney to create artwork, but rather at companies that choose to replace AI tools with human artists.
He explained, “It should not turn into a condemnation of the technology itself. Ethics is not in technology, but in people.”
Allen urged artists to overcome their objections to artificial intelligence, even if only as an adaptation strategy. He added, “This will not stop. Art is dead, dude. It’s all over. Artificial intelligence won, and humans lost.”
Service: «New York Times»*
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