On May 15, 2023, the Millásreggeli radio show’s science education section on futurology and trends research once again featured Levente Szabados, co-founder and senior advisor at Neuron Solutions. This time they exchanged thoughts on the impact of artificial intelligence on the art world.
Artificial intelligence has revolutionised art, among many other fields, and we were pleased to see that this development has opened up new possibilities for less skilled hands. However, with the advent of new technology comes a number of questions.
One of the legitimate questions is: if someone creates a fantastic picture with the help of artificial intelligence, to whom should the credit go: to them or to the machine? And what about royalties?
Levente explained the dilemma: How do we create images with artificial intelligence? We have simply collected all the images we have seen so far and given them to the machine, which can now create new images that we have never seen before. But are these images really new? That’s the big question.
But let’s take the machines out of the ‘picture’ for a moment. Let’s say someone makes a perfect pixel-by-pixel copy of the Mona Lisa. That would not get much credit. But how can we interpret and distinguish copying, imitation and inspiration in art from the original? How far can we go in copying before it becomes a forgery? How can we be inspired by another work of art, and when does a new work become different enough to become a work in its own right?
These are not easy questions.
In the same way, works created using artificial intelligence can be very similar to an earlier work, or they can be brand new. And a lot depends on the instructions, or prompts, that we give to the AI that generates the images. So, even if you can’t be called an artist for creating in this way, you can still give credit to the skillful users of the new technology.
But what effect will this have? Well, there is a broad consensus on this question: it is likely to result in mass production, and many people who used to make their living from it will be driven out of the arts.
Just as large language models solve the mass production of text for marketing, AI will solve the mass production of images. It will be possible to create illustrations based on simple instructions.
But are we sad or happy about this development? This is perhaps another open question.
So these are exciting times, but we have not yet decided whether to be happy or sad.
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