Artificial Intelligence: The Politics of Creativity

Lea Flavier

With a niche interest and limited market that provides income for today’s artists, many are convinced that the storm of art created by artificial intelligence will become a malignant threat to their livelihood and passion. Where, in this argument, does the line between justified referencing and art theft blur?

Because of the prevalent reach social media has on the current generation, it is no doubt that anyone who has Twitter or Instagram has heard of the heated debate surrounding “AI art.” Websites such as Midjourney, Dall-E, and Stable Diffusion provide services to online users, letting them create full-colored art within minutes using only a provided written prompt. The AI then gathers a myriad of pre-existing data from the internet to train itself to create the final product. Controversies arose quickly after its initially going viral, with artists suing these websites for copyright issues and claiming that these programs are stealing their work with no consent and credit. While these are viable reasons, they’re not sufficient  to stop the increase in the online traffic that AI art generates. Here’s why.

Creativity is the faction of the mind that degrades slowly as we age. To be able to preserve it, AI provides people with a tool to create without having to worry about the skill gap that hinders them from doing so. The use of AI requires creativity – the creativity to generate a prompt, whether it is satirical or genuine. Isn’t this what art is all about? To be able to construct and share your ideas through a form of media? Furthermore, insisting that AI art is theft implies that any other previous work that used a reference in its making is also an act of stealing from an original artist, something that has already been an existing concept before the inception of artificial intelligence.

Understandably, it is human nature to be afraid of major change. Skepticism towards the surge of artificial intelligence is inevitable because of its possible ability to advance human capacity at a faster rate. However, because of this natural reaction, it is sure that AI generators will tackle this issue to favor artists in the future due to its rapid advancement.  It is only a matter of continuous experimentation to reach a future for humans created by humans. Sacrifice, whether temporary or permanent, is required for society to advance to greater heights.