In June 2022, Cosmopolitan revealed its cover for its AI issue. The image was generated by an artificial intelligence app and ‘Only took twenty seconds.’ The excitement about the possibilities of AI creativity became balanced with the ethical and creative concerns about how these images are generated and what it means for the future of art – human or otherwise.
In January 2023, three artists in America placed a class action lawsuit against leading AI art tools Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Midjourney, alleging that they infringed on the rights of thousands of artists and other creatives under the guise of artificial intelligence. They were using pre-existing images to create their supposedly quick, artist–free images. Following this, voice actors realised they had potentially signed their voices away by signing contracts that included an agreement that their voice could be synthesised by an AI in the future.
How do artists make a living in a world where art can be produced just by typing in a few words? Could art stagnate with machine produced simulacra silting up the flow of human art and creativity? Or are we missing the potential of machine art to enhance the art world?
We explore this creative uncanny valley with Arthur I. Miller, author of The Artist in the Machine: The World of AI-Powered Creativity and Emeritus Professor History and Philosophy of Science, University College London, alongside Reema Selhi, Head of Policy and International at DACS, a not-for-profit visual artists’ rights management organisation.