AI art lacks soul


By Jo Early

Online Editor

Have you ever wondered what you would have looked like as a 17th century French aristocrat? What about as a cowboy settling the Wild West? A bright blue alien surrounded by exploding cosmos straight from your wildest sci-fi dreams? 

With new AIs like the one used in DreamBooth, you can see yourself cast into the past or morphed into a fantasy realm with just some late-night scrolling effort. 

Users are already raving about the experience and using AI generated images as their profile pictures, posting dozens to their timelines and showing everyone on TikTok exactly what they’d look like as an ancient queen or Viking.

DreamBooth can be loads of fun, but as with a lot of developing technology, there are hidden dangers lurking on the other side of hitting “upload.”

In 2017, the world was introduced to the concept of “deepfake,” a media that could replace a face and voice in a photo or video with uncanny-valley levels of realism. The internet did as it always does and pounced on the opportunity to use the technology for evil. 

Women’s faces were overlaid onto pornstars’ without their consent, and some of these deepfaked videos became blackmail material. Jordan Peele posted a deepfake video of former President Obama cursing out then President Trump as a warning of the technology’s power. 

As the AI art generators learn and improve, concerns are raised over both the consequences of using  computer-produced art for fraud and the impact the trends have on human artists.

Artists are already criminally undervalued. Many budding artists work on commissions in their early years, generating fantasy book covers and fursonas alike. Now that an author needs only to type a few words into an AI art generator to get fantastical cover art, these artists’ very livelihoods are threatened. 

Art is condemned as frivolous and simultaneously a highly sought-after commodity. It’s surrounding you right now from the print on your t-shirt to the logo design on a utility bill. Art’s relative impracticality is what makes it so human. You can’t eat it or drive it to work, but humans have been making art since we could stand upright. 

Once the mass-produced pictures without souls have run their course, we’ll tire of them and turn back to the imperfect and time-consuming human art that says what a robot could repeat but not know: I’m here, I feel, I’m alive. 

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