Opinion: Can we be smart about using AI?

Humans possess an irreplaceable ability to create; AI should not replace the human touch that makes art captivating.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/shalinisathi/" target="_self">Shalini Sathi</a>

Shalini Sathi

September 8, 2023

Art has long been a reflection of human creativity and ingenuity; it serves as a means of expression and cause for inspiration. Recently, there has been rapid advancement in technology, including the increased accessibility of artificial intelligence (AI). Artists are at the center of the next shift. As AI becomes increasingly involved with the creative process, it is necessary to discuss the ethical use of AI in art. Specifically, we must consider the fine line between using AI as a tool to assist in creating art and relying solely on AI to create art for profit.

AI holds great potential to revolutionize the art industry. AI algorithms can help artists generate ideas, explore novel concepts, and enhance their creative processes. By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI algorithms can offer suggestions, refine techniques, and even provide real-time feedback. Additionally, AI is always changing. Months ago, when asking ChatGPT to write a complex melody, it provided 4 repeated chords, and musicians on Twitter joked about their “jobs being safe. Now, however, when given a simpler prompt ChatGPT has a different response, and provides a series of notes similar to the nursery rhyme “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” When given an even more detailed prompt, ChatGPT can produce lines of music inspired by Mozart, or 80s disco hits. And music-focused algorithms hold much greater potential.  When properly guided, AI can assist artists and save them time and money but not sacrifice human expression. Instead of replacing creators, AI can be used to create rough drafts and assist in meeting deadlines.

Artistic expression is deeply rooted in human experiences, emotions, cultures, and perspectives. It is vital to preserve the essence of human ingenuity and creativity in art. While AI can aid in certain aspects of the creative process, it should not replace the human touch that makes art truly captivating. Humans possess an irreplaceable ability to create art that contains personal narratives, emotional depth, and subjective interpretations. Animators have succeeded in preserving such touch while still utilizing AI to assist with drawing guidelines and changing frame interpolation rates. Such methods are used throughout the filmmaking industry, as seen in the summer hit: Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse. By using AI as a tool rather than relying solely on it, artists can maintain their individuality and artistic integrity.

Overreliance on AI in art production raises ethical and legal concerns. Completely handing over the creative process to algorithms poses a risk of producing art devoid of genuine human expression and originality. Artistic endeavors rooted in AI alone might lack the emotional resonance and social commentary that art created by a human can convey. Additionally, image-generating AI requires “training.” The dataset given an AI includes real works by human artists. These algorithms plagiarize the style, color palettes, imagery, and other details of existing artists to create images. If such datasets are created with a public artist’s work, without consent, and not to benefit the original artist in any way, it should be considered plagiarizing and infringing upon the original works of the true artist. AI prompt engineers (those who write prompts for generative AI) who claim generated art as their own imitate a true artist’s works with a collection of characteristics that lack any purposeful placement or personal thought. By relying heavily on AI-generated art, we risk diminishing the significance and authenticity of artistic contributions, devaluing the artist’s role in society.

To ensure the ethical use of AI in art, it is necessary to establish guidelines and foster a balance between human creativity and technological advancements. Artists and machine learning engineers should collaborate to establish transparent practices, enabling artists to maintain control over their creations and ensuring AI is used as a complementary tool rather than a replacement. Respecting copyright and intellectual property rights in the context of AI-generated art is also crucial. Additionally, continued critical discourse and public awareness about the ethical implications of AI in art are essential in shaping responsible practices and policies. There is a need to define what constitutes a “transformative work” and what is “infringing on a derivative work,” since both are terms AI-generated content has been labeled as.

The ethical use of AI in art lies in striking the delicate balance between leveraging its potential as a tool, and preserving human creativity and expression. Artists should embrace AI as a means of lessening the burdens of the creative process that allows them to retain a unique artistic voice. As technology continues to evolve, fostering discussions, establishing frameworks, and nurturing collaboration between artists and developers will enable the art world to use AI’s benefits while retaining human expression. Currently, writers are striking against using AI to minimize costs and remove those who make art enjoyable. Executives and consumers must remember that their favorite movies, jokes, and songs were all written by other humans, products of artistic expression and the lives of those writers. It is obvious that AI can generate beautiful images and compelling stories. But these images would lack all meaning and emotional weight if not for the human creators that inspired the prompts. Ultimately, it is through a mindful approach that we can unleash the true potential of AI in art while preserving the core values that make art a deeply human endeavor

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