The Work of Art in the Age of Generative AI | by Jon Radoff | Building the Metaverse | Dec, 2022

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    We are at the forefront of productivity because using fire enabled our ancestors to eat better, chew significantly less, and collect enough nutrients to evolve a larger brain. We are at the gateway to change.

    Artificial intelligence is now augmenting the power of our brains, and no area of ​​human endeavor seems to be affected.

    Transportation and warehouse jobs will be largely replaced by robots and self-driving cars. Fast food preparation, janitor and many manufacturing jobs will follow. In an economy that still has almost two open vacancies for every unemployed person as of December 2022, need Robots will meet consumer demand and do jobs that humans don’t.

    All forms of labor are ultimately a function of power, which is becoming more and more abundant. Renewable energy is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and cheaper. In 10 or 20 years we might even use it Nuclear fusionis the force at the center of the star and produces virtually unlimited energy.

    Labor includes not only physical labor but also intellectual labor. Most people thought about blue-collar jobs being replaced by AI, but overlooked an entire sector: the creative industries.

    If your job is symbol, text, and image manipulation, AI will come for you sooner than many of these physical jobs will be replaced. This is because it does not require clothing. Runs on your existing computer.

    Nowhere is this change causing greater anxiety than in the art world.

    My daughter is a budding artist. And I have worked with many artists. I consider them friends, great colleagues and respected professionals. So everything I write here is written with love in my heart.

    My goal here is to organize the forces at work so that we can tackle reality as it is, not as we would like it to be.

    art, Something that harnesses the unique human perspective on the human condition, utilizes new forms of media, and reflects the lived experience of emotions and physical existence – all this art continues. I’ll leave it to scholars to define . For me, knowing it when I see it is enough.

    We know Banksy’s murals in Kiev are art.

    i know that Flower and Journey Art.

    i know that Las Meninas Art.

    i know that spirited away Art.

    i know that Carousel’s Don Draper Pitch Art.

    You may have a different definition of art than I do, and that’s fine. And you may consider your work to be art. That is wonderful. I have no interest in being a gatekeeper.

    Anyone who wants to make art should have the opportunity to do so.

    But most “art” isn’t art. The vast amount of professional work is not the type of art I described above. This is commercial graphics production done as part of a commercial transaction. In that sense, it does not belong to a special category different from the jobs that are about to be replaced by various robots in the future. This is not to say that people don’t enjoy their work or appreciate it (have spent countless hours honing their craft). Nor am I saying that “true art” is inherently more important than commercial graphics.

    Commercial graphics are a type of work in our capitalist system.

    Since we’re talking about capitalism, let’s talk about intellectual property. Part of the backlash against AI-generated artwork is that it exploits intellectual property belonging to artists. The argument is that the artists are being duped because the models are trained on copyrighted works.

    This is a complex issue, but let’s summarize some of the issues.

    AI models are pattern recognizers, not imitators. The model observes patterns (strokes, curvatures, edges, textures) in many works and creates a statistical model representing these similarities. In that sense, it is vaguely similar to what human artists do when they study art: they observe the work, learn the methods behind it, and internalize the practice.

    There was a case. Diffusion models have reproduced some works — probably an overfitting problem (a problem exacerbated with small datasets). But even in these seemingly rare cases, this is a bug and not an intended feature of the technology. (GANsdoes not have this problem).

    But let’s assume there are some copyright issues that will be resolved over time, and those who wish to opt out of having the model trained in their own work can do so:

    Even if the training is reduced, the technology will not stop. Whether it is legal to train these models from copyrighted artwork will no doubt be tested by lawsuits. And if those attempts fail in court, new laws and regulations will likely arise.

    However, we expect these cases and regulations to fail to prevent the industrialized use of generative AI. There are several reasons. A rich corpus of artwork by deceased and out-of-copyright creators. There are many commercial graphics that are owned by companies (not artists) and are happy to license them. Companies building generative technologies can also hire artists to produce content with gaps in their training and train from them instead.

    These techniques cannot be stopped or undone. Just like an artist can’t stop gaining efficiencies by doing paintovers on reference photos or applying digital tools in Photoshop.

    For most of recent history, creating commercial graphics required a deep commitment to craft: Over the years I have honed my illustration skills, learned and practiced the tools, and expressed myself in a wide range of media.

    Nothing prevents you from continuing to learn these crafts. Make furniture using only hand tools .

    Making something with your own hands and your own heart is a uniquely human experience and everyone should have the opportunity to do so. Future affluence economyPerhaps everyone will realize!

    For some artisans, applying craft techniques in the industry continues to be of value. Because humans continue to explore their own vision of art and creativity.or perhaps aura As machine-generated versions become more abundant, those associated with human-made artifacts become more valuable.

    In other cases, the ‘value’ becomes the experience of learning and indulging in the craft— no The commerce it can generate.

    And that is what lies at the heart of the anxiety that currently pulses in the art world. For the majority of working artists, it’s not really about copyright or intellectual property (which are mostly owned by corporations or moving away from copyright). It’s about having a craft that people really love, make huge investments in, and want to keep going.that is reason to live.

    We are moving into an economy that prioritizes composition over production.

    As I used the term above, if you want to pursue art (without the fear quote): Yes. I also doubt that generative AI will prevent it. This is a form of production that seems safe for some time (as has always been the case with art), even though it is limited to a very small number of producers who can make a living.

    Even if you’re one of these producers, you may still want to have new tools at your disposal. You can iterate, riff, or explore new directions faster than ever before. Paint with ideas, not pixels.

    If so, it’s the skill of composition that counts. Below is a deck summarizing some of the things you need to know.

    In the industry I’ve spent most of my career in—computer games—a lot of the artwork started moving overseas years ago. Artists who haven’t mastered the new technology, learned how to work inside a 3D engine, or mastered the more technical aspects of digital art simply can’t compete with the costs of a faraway production house. was.

    Today we are witnessing the natural progression of this movement. and It can be automated with even greater capital efficiency. Those who learn new skills survive. That means learning the more technical, more complex aspects, and the types of configurations I wrote above.

    For those of you who feel threatened or concerned about these technologies: Unless you’re convinced that generative tech will be regulated and out of existence (which I think is highly unlikely) ), it is your responsibility to acquire the configuration skills that will allow you to do so. To stay relevant in the skill market.

    For others reading this, I’m sure you’ll find it very exciting. Perhaps we can incorporate generative AI into production processes to disrupt much larger competitors who are too slow to change their ways. Or even better, generative AI builds a whole new product at the heart of the experience itself, giving the world a whole new way of living.

    Or you will ride the opposite trend. You will become a craftsman selling handmade human products in a world of automation. Why is there a market for ceramics, oil paintings, furniture, jewelry and food, but not for digital products like games and online experiences?

    Whichever path you take, we know the future is terrifying because these technologies are advancing so quickly. The rate of change is not linear. it is complex. It’s happening for all kinds of creators, not just artists. We have an opportunity to expand our creativity exponentially.


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