Is A.I. Art Considered“Real” Art?
By Veronica Letourneau
July 11th, 2022
Photo: OCN - Source
S. Will Chambers in his article “AI Agents are not Artists'' says that A.I. Agents can’t be considered to be artists, because they are simply replicating art. With A.I. systems there is no creative process, but instead a duplication process from other art forms. Art, however, can imitate the world around us, and the Realism art form has artists hone their skills to create paintings that are not only realistic, but shed a light on the realities of the world. These paintings aren’t flowery, but gritty and dark. It does so to depict the harshness of the world, with a lot of its subjects being normal lower-class people. Art has a history of wanting to imitate reality, the A.I. is just wanting to imitate art itself.
The A.I. Robot “Ai-Da” does what any human artist does, she looks at her subject, then does some brush strokes, rotating between looking and painting until the subject is done. But, what separates that from a normal artist? Free will perhaps…? The robot is programmed to do a task, and then she completes it. Doesn’t a hired artist do the same when they have a project they need to do for work? Examples are: an illustrator for a comic book or book cover who is given an image they need to create, or the artist who has to create a new poster for a show. So, do we consider those manufactured, robotic projects not to be art because they take away from the human being? Typically, we would still view those pieces as artistic regardless of how and by whom it was made.
And with A.I. artists like Ai-Da, it’s the same principle.
One could also argue that art is about the expression of emotions. Meanwhile, A.I. units don’t have any emotions to express. However, not all art is about pure emotional expression. The art form Dada would make fun of this bourgeois concept of art with one of its most notable art pieces being a urinal. The piece was called “Fountain” by artist Marcel Duchamp and was done to show how elitist the art scene had become and how this exhibit, which was supposed to accept any work, was rejected since it was not seen as “art.” Now, the “Fountain” is helmed as the beginning of the Dada movement which took shocking, sometimes ugly imagery, to make a point (usually about the horrors of the First World War). So, if we can create an art movement out of a manufactured object, could we not also do the same with A.I. artworks? While the A.I. isn’t creating art in an emotional way, we can still get something out of what it creates.
They say art is subjective. This notion is not only based on opinions on a piece, but interpretations of it. Thousands of people could look at the Mona Lisa and have a different reaction to it; some people like her warm, mystique smile, and others think it’s a horrible smile. Looking at A.I. art, I myself get a reaction from it. It can at times feel complex and confusing, as though forces beyond my comprehension are creating an image. While something that’s “not human” makes the art, an emotional reaction to it is nevertheless ignited. While A.I. art is only just starting out (the hardware can already create such random and strange imagery), we can’t even begin to imagine what it will create in the future. And THAT my friends, IS ART.