AI Art and “Equine Echoes”

I will admit, AI art makes me uncomfortable. I think the root of it, aside from questions of stealing from artists, is that it takes the humanity out of art, creating an aesthetic object without any real substantiality. You can control the output by entering a prompt, but there’s only so much control there. The AI will always have its own take that’s different from what you imagined.

Still, even as AI art rubs me the wrong way, I wonder how much its impact is being thrown out of proportion when it comes to the idea of replacing artists. People got upset when high quality phone cameras started making photography more accessible to people without a skillset in the field, and phone cameras do allow for more amateur works, but that doesn’t just erase the need for professional photographers altogether. Maybe there has been a decrease, but the occupation is still very much alive. The situation might not be quite the same, but while there are some areas where AI could replace real artists, there is still a need for human innovation and, if nothing else, human control in art. I would lose my mind trying to get an AI art generator to create exactly what I’m picturing in my head.

It’s not really the same thing, and I probably could’ve used an actual AI art generator for this, but in the spirit of these blog posts I asked ChatGPT to create a visual poem about a horse. Try as I might, we had very different pictures of what this might look like:

I asked ChatGPT to title its collection of works, and it handed me “Equine Echoes”, which I find fitting for the ‘essence of horse’ poems it gave me.

3 thoughts on “AI Art and “Equine Echoes”

  1. Catherine, that is such an interesting way to prompt ChatGPT for this assignment. I like it, but it does seem to be only “essence of horse.” Your comment about phone cameras and photography becoming more accessible to amateurs made me think of Lessig’s article about Sousa and copyright law, but I don’t think Sousa would approve here of AI-generated art.

  2. The comparison you make between AI art and photography is really interesting, and I can see AI art potentially following a similar trend. I doubt AI art would ever be able to fully replace human art for reasons similar to why people still rely on professional photographers when they want quality work, whether for a wedding, graduation, or family pictures. I also love the ChatGPT “horses” and thought that was a really fun way to use Chat GPT.

  3. I also love the idea of having ChatGPT create visual/concrete poems. That’s not something that I’ve seen tried before and it points to some more limitations of the model.

    The question of how you can get an AI art generator to create something that matches what you had in your head is interesting, but I also suspect it’s pretty similar to what you might experience if you were commissioning an artist to, say, make you a piece for your living room. You might discuss what you want in more or less detail, but it probably won’t turn out to match what you had thought because 1) there’s another intelligence involved and 2) language is always imprecise.

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