AI in art and design – threat or opportunity?
When we talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI), the first thing we think of are those movie scenes where robots are our friends, we live with them or even fight against them.
Although it may seem like science fiction to talk about it, AI is becoming more and more present in our daily lives. We find it in self-driving cars, in medical advances where AI performs complex operations and now also in the world of art and design.
The first news we heard of this idea came with Dall-E, an AI where you could generate images based on keywords. The images were far from narrative, compositional, or even technical, but it could already draw out clear concepts with a hint of realism:
The general public enjoyed the creations that could be generated with the tool, but the controversy came with Dall-E2, an improved version of the previous one, with a huge database that included pictorial styles, both current and past, renowned artists and even theory.
This is how it is described on its official website: “It receives both text and image as a single data stream containing up to 1280 tokens, and is trained using maximum probability to generate all tokens, one after the other. This training procedure allows the application to not only generate an image from scratch, but to regenerate any rectangular region of an existing image that extends to the bottom right corner. In a way that is consistent with the text message”.
And it didn’t just bring a restyling of the illustrations.
It can also expand pictorial works. Have you ever wondered what the meadow where Monet painted “Cliff Walk at Pourville” in 1882 looked like?
We have done it, and we asked Dall-E to show it to us. This was the result.
They also added the possibility to edit images. If a picture can be expanded in the same style, you can imagine that image editing and blending is included in the package, and with it, controversy. Putting all this database together resulted in an AI capable of producing an infinite number of possibilities just by playing with words. This type of creation can use the work of current artists (which you can add to the petition), basing those designs on their work.
Artists and designers saw our work threatened by the possibility of no longer needing our services in the face of the high demand for AI and its raison for being. In the words of OpenAI (the company that developed Dall-E2): ”We seek to democratise art, to allow all people to be able to create in a simple way through their words”.
The idea that what we have trained for years, our creativity, our differentiation as humans, can be collected and used for an AI available to everyone, can make us believe that our profession will eventually come to disappear. Examples include the first AI-generated cover of Cosmopolitan or the case of an artist who won an illustration competition by submitting AI-generated work.
But… Are we sure about that?
As Sydney J. Harris, American journalist and columnist, said: “The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers. In the end, if we simply think we are fighting a losing battle, as if everything is black and white, zeroes and ones, we will lose the human distinction of self-improvement, growth and, as we like to say at Redbility, the only constant is change.
A few years ago it was believed that the essence of the traditional artist would be lost through the use of programmes such as Photoshop or ClipStudio, among others, but new artistic currents were developed by taking advantage of the software, streamlining work processes and exploring new limits.
It’s time to take advantage of this new tool to improve as creators, to speed up our performance, and here are some ideas:
- Creation of quick visual concepts based on brainstorming.
- Editing images at high speeds.
- Correction of photographs where, due to limitations, it was not possible to photograph the whole context.
- Discovery of pictorial styles.
- Creation of basic compositions.
It is time to join the technological revolution and learn how to exploit its potential.We also hope that, with the standardization of the tool, the legal terms will be strengthened to protect authors.
To finish, I want to leave you with the story of Fosbury, a high jump athlete from 1968, who out of his frustration at not being able to execute the most common jump of the moment decided to innovate and, using the resources he had, jumped backwards reaching a new record of 2m and 24cm in the high jump, leaving the world stunned and a new jump in the sport, the Fosbury Flop.
It is time to be creative and learn to jump backwards, to set new records, to take advantage of our frustration, to take risks and to create something new.