Tech Talk: The AI art era


Graphic by Shraddha Sriram | The Phoenix

Art created by Artificial Intelligence is nothing new. Hundreds of thousands of AI images are posted daily, taking social media by storm. AI art generators have been growing behind the scenes over the years, becoming more powerful with each update.

Over the last year and a half, there have been significant improvements—with shocking results. Generators such as Jasper Art produce images from inputted text using mostly copyrighted art to create their own copyright and watermark-free works. While AI art has been around for a long time, the recent vast improvements and innovations have thrown a rock into the wheel of traditional art. Users can generate images for free, with no restrictions to their creations. This has led many to generate countless “art pieces” for amusement and even profit. 

The generators study the plethora of art on the internet prior to creating pieces based on text inputs. The art that is studied and used to create these new pieces is often copyrighted by the original artists; not to mention the countless hours and effort put into their work. This nonconsensual use of art has caused an uproar from many artists, as their work has been infringed upon and their art has been stolen from. 

Not only is AI Art stealing from traditional artists, it also poses an arguably bigger threat to digital artists. AI generators have made it easy to type in a few words and produce a beautiful piece of art that one could claim as their own. While many people are using these generators for amusement, they ignore the detrimental effects on artists. These quickly generated masterpieces are essentially replacements for the hard work of digital artists, especially generators which have options for specific styles. Many people are turning to AI art instead of supporting traditional artists, and while on a small scale this may seem harmless, this has become a big issue for already struggling artists. Many AI art generators have started to sell their art, and in turn, increase competition with traditional artists even more. Another rising practice that has been hurting artists, is the surge of people selling AI art as their own work. Human-made art is unable to compete with these accessible, incredible, and often mind blowing pieces of art, adding to the list of difficulties in the art world. 

While art created by numerous AI generators is novel and exciting, the harmful effects it poses to the art community should keep the general public wary of these programs.