It’s difficult to ignore the media onslaught surrounding artificial intelligence. A.I. is a heavy favorite for flavor of the year, and the competition matchups have just begun. Bard, a Google version, is anxiously waiting at the gate. Can you believe the sheer pace of this implementation? A certain amount of disconnect exists when discussing a breakthrough invention that creates content with critical unknowns. Freelance artists are nervous; one of their biggest fears is losing illustration work. The ethics of A.I. is a topic of contention in the creative community. The race is on.
To gather a better understanding, let’s post some recent deadly spawn stories on our 2023 inspiration board. Pin them next to Pantone’s Viva Magenta 18-1750, their color of the year swatch. Pantone is a sacred cow, a design industry mascot. The standard of color expertise guarantees Viva “will help us build our inner strength.” Thank you Pantone, we need more of that.
Millions can now type in a question and get an answer with footnotes, careful; the response may not always be accurate. With novel learning curves and uncertain applications, teachers and students will need time to refine their thinking. Education systems tend to move at a slower pace when it comes to change. Calls for any immediate legislative reform action regarding A.I. regulations seem unlikely at this point too. To artists, it’s a dire warning—a wake-up call reminder to log-in and update your brain’s software, it needs to warm up.
John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight has examined how A.I. creates. Oliver has proven digital replicators like Midjourney can produce images that are beyond our imagination. Comical results were included in a segment where Oliver marries a cabbage officiated by Steve Buscemi. Oliver states, “Which is a real problem, because we’re increasingly using A.I. in all sorts of consequential ways, from determining who gets a job interview to directing self-driving cars, to deep fakes that can spread disinformation and abuse.”
OpenAI’s ChatGPT on Bing did their homework, was over-prepared at post time, and breezed by at a fast pace. OpenAI’s dizzying website is full of personality and overflowing in hyperactive developer-speak, you might just as well be on another planet. “Creating safe artificial general intelligence that benefits all of humanity,” is their stated goal. The A.I. research and deployment business wants to make sure you know how concerned they are, in a manner similar to Pantone’s tone. The service entices you with offers to engage, its price points are sold as tokens; with a pay-as-you-go approach that feels like a 23andMe membership application. A tagline like “Join us in defining the future of technology” could be misinterpreted as an invitation to micro-dose. There are several panels of illusory Op-Art paired with disconcerting, groupthink photographs of youth on laptops as they “research generative models and how to align them with human values.”
Another image-generating system, DALL-E, can produce realistic solutions culled from online sources using a typed description. A sample A.I. input read: An astronaut riding a horse in photorealistic style. The output: the final illustration at the top of this Splice Today article. At times, the DALL-E’s imagery falls between something framed on the wall at Bob’s Discount Furniture or a Thomas Kincaid painting on LSD.
Fine Arts is wasting no time. Artist Refik Anadol, who shows at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in LA, calls his approach to A.I.: data painting. With a team, they collaborate machines and humans in the trifecta of art, science and technology. Anadol’s immersive LED project was featured on a PBS report.
Jos Avery claimed he used a Nikon D810 to shoot a series of people portraits according to the arts website Hyperallergic, except he didn’t, and that put him in an awkward situation. Avery’s dilemma: the work became another Instagram sensation with many followers. He sort of fessed up. Using Midjourney and Adobe Photoshop skills, he composited a seamless series of images to which some have referred to as stunning; each with a brief narrative noted as fiction.
One school of thought is editing and composition already functions as part of the equation in our computerized culture. Other critics were harsh and quick to judge, calling the work “disingenuous” online. Avery’s defense is the process involved human oversight with creativity, which is true.
After its invention, photography had a challenging beginning. In many ways, exploring the relationship of creating, staging, and manipulating photographs is a continuation of time-honored practices. Take a look at the enigmatic photography of pioneering American mystics like Duane Michals, Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Cindy Sherman. The discussion carries on.
For A.I., the outset couldn’t come soon enough. Perhaps it wasn’t as quiet of a debut as some had anticipated. Should we embrace? After all, we’re frequently obliged to accept some level of superficial social narcissism with de-aging filters in our selfie-obsessed society. However, the public gets confused by conflicting reports, inconsistent results, and conspiracy rants. In order to have a successful outcome, general guidelines are needed. Scammers and hackers are busy trying to capture these transformative moments to their advantage.
On the clubhouse turn, technology sprints forward. There is something in this, for better or worse. Having a clarity of focus on the A.I. controversy is a crucial and challenging endeavor. In all honesty, no one is singing on the rooftops under the stars claiming A.I. is a “New Gold Dream.” Can you recall how content our simple minds were back then, we never left.