Is Artificial Intelligence Robbing Art From Original Artists?
BY DHRUVIKA DEEKONDA '24
Do you ever wonder how software developers manage to contort technology into a controversial mess? AI, or artificial intelligence, recognizes recurring patterns and responds to users’ needs, and recently, it has been increasingly used to create art. We see this everywhere: pastel AI art filters on TikTok, AI face-generating websites, and AI apps dedicated to generating a scene from several key words. Since AI art renderings draw from other artists’ pre-existing work and can be executed at the press of a button, some argue that this technology will inevitably replace the art and graphic design industry. However, while AI art is undeniably visually appealing, its disingenuous background cannot compare to original art’s true meaning.
With the AI industry growing so quickly, concerns regarding its role in displacing artists have grown in the art stratosphere. According to Bloomberg, “the global artificial intelligence market size was valued at USD 136.55 billion in 2022 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 37.3% from 2023 to 2030.” Worry not, though; human-made artwork and graphic designs have never been about staggering statistics. Rather, they are about the raw emotions viewers feel when they first lay their eyes on the artwork. AI will continue to excel in copying, but it will never be able to replace the graphic design industry.
Some might counter that if AI copies and recycles art, the inspiration an artist finds is also considered unoriginal. Sure, the idea may already exist; however, the artist’s cultivation of an idea into a representation of their own thoughts makes human art special and meaningful. AI art, on the other hand, fails at this level.
Moreover, AI undermines art’s diversity. Many individuals produce art to include people of varying identities. Machine learning systems, on the other hand, almost universally exhibit bias against women and people of color. OpenAI, an AI software company, admits that “[its] models could be used to generate a wide range of deceptive and otherwise harmful content” and that the system “inherits various biases from its training data, and its outputs sometimes reinforce societal stereotypes.” An example of how the bias is portrayed is that when searching terms like “CEO,” exclusively images of white-passing men in business suits are generated. Meanwhile, using the word “nurse” or “personal assistant” brings up images of women. Compared to person-made art, most people would illustrate that anyone can become a CEO, unlike a machine. Consequently, any creative piece coming from a human has a more complex and creative thought process; AI tools, on the other hand, merely complete tasks and view art as work to be completed.
Though it may feel as if AI is robbing art from original artists, AI will never be able to steal the meaning that artists imprint into their work. True art takes time, patience, and passion. Since AI cannot think critically, the concern over it replacing and thieving art from original artists should not be over-thought since artists’ creativity and originality will ultimately prevail.