AI tools like DALL-E 2 make it easy for anyone to create art with a click. While this movement may conjure up old fears of robots taking over the world, some things, like human creativity, are immune to the machine.
Algorithms are powerful things. If you’ve ever seen an ad on Facebook for a product you just talked about, you understand this fact. AI art tools use algorithms too, created through machine learning. In other words, AI art is generated by machines that have learned through the analysis of other images and ideas.
If you’re an artist or simply someone who fears for the future of creativity, please don’t. AI art doesn’t exist without our input. And it will never replace our creative ability.
Art Masters vs. Artificial Intelligence
Art has literally existed since the beginning of time. For thousands of years, it has been used to tell the story of our lives, illustrating and preserving our history. And just like technology, art has evolved over time, from charcoal on cave walls to machine-generated pixels.
What’s one thing that all of this art has in common? Its uniqueness. Not one artist has ever painted, sculpted, danced, or written the same as another. And it’s this uniqueness that AI tools simply can’t replicate.
Let’s consider one of the world’s most prominent art masters. When compared to AI, well, there truly is no comparison.
Claude Monet is known as one of the fathers of the Impressionism movement, which began in France during the mid-to-late 19th century. Impressionists weren’t afraid of using seemingly unfinished brushstrokes. In fact, their paintings illustrated a rebellion against the traditional and highly realistic art of their time.
It was new. Fresh. No one had painted in the Impressionistic style before. As a result, the Impressionism crew left a mark on art history. And now, even AI art tools recognize Monet’s name and that of the movement.
What would happen if, for funsies, I tried to use an AI tool to create a Monet-inspired piece, similar to one of his most well-known paintings, Water Lilies (shown above)? I used DALL-E 2 to try and do just that.
For the first round, I entered a simple prompt without naming Monet or Impressionism. The result was four paintings, all similar to this one:
Okay, it’s a nice painting of some water lilies. Pretty good. But does it shout Monet? Absolutely not.
Next, I gave the tool more context by adding “impressionist” and “in the style of Monet.” The result? Four images similar to this one:
Here’s the deal: while the AI tool was successful in the first result, it required specific input to reach that second result.
Without Monet’s genius and artistic ability, that second result wouldn’t exist. The same goes for anyone and everyone who has ever created a thing.
The machine requires us.
An Algorithm Can’t Replace Creative Ability
You see, the human brain and AI don’t work the same. Humans have the ability to think. Machines don’t (at least not yet). While humans have the ability to create and imagine, machines can only learn from data and information that’s already available.
What may seem like intelligence when a machine “creates” an Impressionistic piece of art is, well, artificial.
A machine’s algorithm can’t replace the human mind. It can’t replace our ability to use our emotions, experiences, and thoughts to create new things.
Your art? It’s safe.
We Should Embrace Tech Innovation, Not Fear It
Art has been a key part of my own life since I could hold a pencil and brush. As a child, I took art lessons where I learned everything from color theory to how not to smash glass for a mosaic (don’t ask). Now, I paint in my spare time using watercolor.
As an artist, I know what it’s like to hear the term “AI art” and instantly feel as if we’ve lost yet another piece of our humanity to the machine. And in the past, I’ve asked the question: Why can’t we just leave well enough alone?
We shouldn’t fear innovation but embrace it. After all, it will never replace us.