Thought — 2 Min Read

Artificial Poppies

by Case Greenfield, October 25th, 2022

Thought — 2 Min Read

Artificial Poppies

by Case Greenfield

October 25th, 2022

Artworks that are generated with AI … is it art?

More and more, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a role in art. Lately, OpenAI published the DALL-E algorithm. It is an example of so-called “Generative AI”. It can be used to generate imagery based on written text. Eg. you type “a landscape with trees and a blue sky” and it will generate images with … a landscape with trees and a blue sky.

There are many articles online on Generative AI. Here’s a comprehensive explanation of what Generative AI is: What is Generative AI, and How Will It Disrupt Society or AI and I: The Age of Artificial Creativity. Also, a year ago, I wrote a story on the topic: AI Art? Quantum Art!

Also, with Generative AI you can upload any image, and the software will generate variants of your image. Using DALL-E, that is exactly what I did with my “Study for Poppies” image.

Study for Poppies - ORIGINAL
Study for Poppies

And these are the first four variants I made of it, using DALL-E:

Interesting, right?

Now, the obvious question this raises is:

Is it still art?

To be very honest, I really do not think the generated images are very bad or very un-artistic. One thing is striking, though. The software also transforms my signature, as if it were an integral part of the scene depicted. It does transform it into characters – most of the time – but it does not ‘understand’ that it is my signature.

And another interesting issue is the following. On purpose, above, I wrote ‘(…) these are the first four variants I made of it’. But the question is, who really made these works? Was it really me? Was it ‘the algorithm’ or ‘the software’? Or was it the team of software programmers who created the algorithm? Hence, who is the legal owner of the works?

Is DALL-E just a tool that I used creating the work, like eg. a paintbrush, or is DALL-E the creator of the work? Or is it something in-between?

We will see how these discussions will evolve …

My conclusion, so far, is that these transformed images can be a helpful tool for artists who want to generate ideas based on an original artwork.

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By the way, I started documenting the Poppies art project. You can follow it here: Poppies art project

(Nov 7, 2022) — UPDATE – I also published an online exhibition on the Poppies project. You can watch it here: Poppies online exhibition

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