Explained: The controversy surrounding the AI-generated artwork that won US competition

Explained: The controversy surrounding the AI-generated artwork that won US competition
An artwork generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) bagged the first prize at a competition in the United States, triggering outrage on social media. Jason Allen, the winner of the award and $300 cash prize, defended his art which won in the “digital arts/digitally-manipulated photography” category. “I’m not going to apologise for it… I won, and I didn’t break any rules,” the 39-year-old game designer told The New York Times (NYT).
Why has the controversy snowballed? Why are some against AI-generated art? Let’s examine the issue:Théâtre D’opéra SpatialAllen, who is the president of Colorado-based tabletop gaming company Incarnate Games, presented his work ‘Théâtre D’opéra Spatial’ or ‘Space Opera Theater’ and won the top prize at Colorado State Fair’s fine art competition. “I won first place,” Allen who goes by Sincarnate had declared in a Discord post, reported Vice. The piece was created using an online program called Midjourney, an invite-only AI tool, which transforms text into realistic graphics.
“Users type a series of words in a message to Midjourney; the bot spits back an image seconds later,” NYT wrote about the AI software. Allen told Colorado Springs newspaper The Gazette that he was earlier skeptical about using AI for art. “But as more and more of it started crossing my path on social media, I started to take notice,” he said.
“I was really impressed with the quality and level of detail. I decided to give it a try,” Incarnate Games CEO added. Allen believes artificial intelligence as an “artistic resource is likely here to stay” even if people do not like it.
He further said he is not yet done with his prize-winning artwork and will continue working on it. “Now that I know other people appreciate it the way that I do, I’m excited to complete the project in a much bigger way,” he told The Gazette. AI-created artwork sparks controversyThe software Midjourney can create digital artwork in minutes that a person would usually take hours or even days to produce.
TL;DR — Someone entered an art competition with an AI-generated piece and won the first prize. Yeah that’s pretty fucking shitty. pic.
twitter. com/vjn1IdJcsL— Genel Jumalon Nan Desu Kan (@GenelJumalon) August 30, 2022Why are some objecting?As per Indian Express, critics have objected to its use citing that transforming prompts into art is like “painting-by-numbers”, which means it is devoid of skill or real artistry. As the news reached Twitter, netizens slammed Allen and the “death of artistry” saying it takes away from the hard work of human-made art.
“This is so gross. I can see how ai art can be beneficial, but claiming you’re an artist by generating one? Absolutely not,” a Twitter user wrote. “The art created by AI is not the same as that created by man.
I believe that at least it should be in a separate category and not overlap with ordinary art in any way. People like the person from the screenshot are just disgusting to me,” another user chimed. “We’re watching the death of artistry unfold before our eyes — if creative jobs aren’t safe from machines, then even high-skilled jobs are in danger of becoming obsolete,” a third said on Twitter.
The rules of the competitionAs per NYT, Colorado State Fair’s fine art competition allows any “artistic practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. ”Notably, the judges claimed they were unaware that Midjourney was an AI software, however, added that they would still have selected Allen’s artwork even if they knew, as they were seeking “how the art tells a story, how it invokes spirit”. ALSO READ: When policy wonks and lawmakers are at loggerheads, technology may come to our rescue.
Here’s howWhat is art?The AI-generating artwork winning the first prize incited many social media users to indulge in ‘what is art’ debate. “AI cannot create art, because anything generated from an AI is entirely devoid of messages, themes, and meaning. There is no intentional conveyance on the part of the “artist” if said artist isn’t actively thinking about the message of their work.
Which I doubt the AI does,” a user tweeted. Responding to the controversy, Olga Robak, communications director for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, told HuffPost that the art fair is happy to be “part of the discussion” over what comprises of art, adding these debates make a “really interesting conversation point”. “There is a new medium in art, and it opens up a door to talk about what art is and how we can properly judge it and categorise it in a way that is fair,” she was quoted as saying by The Gazette.
“We review those competition requirements every year and so this will likely lead to an internal discussion of whether this should have its own category, how it should be categorized and how people should label and judge this new type of art using new technology,” Robak added. When AI-created work made newsIn 2018, the portrait Edmond de Belamy made by algorithm was sold for a whopping $432,500 at an art auction in New York, US. The Atlantic writer Charlie Warzel had made headlines when he used Midjourney-generated picture of Alex Jones in an edition of the magazine’s newsletter.
Warzel was slammed for using AI rather than employing an illustrator. With inputs from agenciesRead all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News, India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.