AI-generated artwork threatens authenticity: Student shares thoughts on human expression, ethics mimicking distinct styles, revising iconic paintings

Recently, artificial intelligence (AI) art generators have been increasing in popularity. Well-known AI art generators include Dall-E, Midjourney, NightCafe and most recently, a terrifying development in the form of OpenAI’s Sora, a program that can create videos based on a text prompt. All of these art generators work through the input of a text prompt so that the computer program can create a piece of art based on the prompt. 

Somewhat amusingly, these pieces have become the center of ridicule in many spaces. AI art
generators often make mistakes,
warping body parts to the point of being unrecognizable or simply creating images that do not make sense. They create images of
fabric falling in ways it could not possibly fall, or shadows that do not match up with the light source. If one looks closely at the hair on an AI-generated art piece, it becomes obvious that the creation itself is a mess. 

Despite these blunders, AI art has become something of a phenomenon online. People continue to use AI art generators, despite pleas from artists to stop, and creations from these art generators have spread across the internet. However, I do not think that AI art even deserves to be called art. 

It is soulless and steals the work of artists who have put years of time and effort into honing their craft. Art is beautiful because it depicts the human soul, no matter the situation occurring at the time when the art was created. That is why so many beautiful pieces of art have survived the centuries. From statues like the “Winged Victory of Samothrace” to paintings like “Starry Night,” art is meant to depict every facet of humanity and the human experience. Artists breathe life into their art with every brush stroke and every second they
put into their pieces. 

Graphics created by a computer generator are not capable of any of this. AI art programs steal the work of genuine artists, and are nothing more than an exploitation of people’s work, and in some cases,
even their livelihood. 

Some AI art programs can even be “trained” off specific artists, creating works in that artist’s style. This, more than anything else, feels like a violation. Artists put time and effort into creating their unique styles, and for those working in an artistic field, their art styles become their own unique brand. For an AI art generator to steal it is
demeaning and insulting.

It is almost poetic how some of the earliest pieces of art, and the ones we remember most, depict hands. Ironically, hands are one of the most difficult aspects of a piece for an AI art generator to depict correctly. 

Most notable was a recent issue on X (Twitter), where a person took an apparently incomplete painting and ‘finished’ it in an AI art generator. The painting in question was the “Unfinished Painting” by Keith Haring, who passed away in 1990 from AIDS-related complications. The painting is a famous piece of queer art, purposefully left forever unfinished to reflect the devastating void left by the AIDS epidemic. 

The use of AI to complete this piece is abhorrent. There are no words to truly describe how disgusting this use of AI art generators was. Moreso, the AI art program butchered the painting. In the original piece, human figures can be seen, mingling with each other, which appear mangled in the computer’s approximation. 

It was never meant to be finished, because the blank canvas is meant to represent the millions of lives lost. The painting itself is beautifully devastating, and an incredible record of humanity. “Completing” it with an AI art program destroys the heartbreaking meaning of the
original piece. 

AI art generators are useless, and ultimately revolting. Art should be created by a human hand, or through any other method that one might have available. It should be created with emotion, any kind of emotion, not the cold code of a computer.

It is meant to depict humanity, to stand the test of time and to express oneself with; there is no other medium that would convey what you are feeling. AI “art” can do none of this. 

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