When people imagined what the future looked like, did they ever imagine a day when artists would be replaced by machines? When you see images from the World's Fairs of the 60's, the future had flying cars, robots helping us in the kitchen, and so many other things that I am still patiently waiting for:)
But never in any of these imagined futures, did we ever think a day would come when robots would replace writers, designers, and even photographers*. But ladies and gentlemen, that day has come, and we need to take a stand now, or the creative world as we know it is gone.
This reality I am referring to is obviously AI. Artificial Intelligence was something touted as a way to assist us in the mundane tasks throughout the day, to free us up to do more of what we love. But like so many gifts given to civilization, we have exploited it, and used it in all the wrong ways, but the most heinous of these is using AI to create art.
Art is, and will always be something that sets humans apart from literally everything else. Going back 45,000 years to the first recorded cave paintings, humans have had a need to express and record their inner thoughts in a physical manner, something up to this point, no other living thing has done. But now, AI, in its never ending quest to be human, is learning to art.
Why is this a problem? Well, the answer is simple, and it is not because people like me are intimidated. It is because AI pulls from existing art to create it's own art, so in reality, it is not actually creating anything, it is simply merging other people's art. Now before you hit Caps Lock, I am WELL aware of the irony of me saying this when so much of what I do is parody, or the merging of two concepts to create something new. But the difference is heart. I am taking my love of Star Wars with my love of the Midwest to create something that has never been seen before. I am not simply merging random images in a haphazard and souless manner. When you look at AI art, it lacks personality and life. It feels manufactured and humorless. But it is easy, and to a lot of people, easy trumps everything else.
So writers, designers, and other types of artists are being replaced by AI, because if someone needs something fast and cheap, nobody beats Artificial Intelligence. I am seeing it across many different creative landscapes right now, and it scares me....but not because I am scared for myself and my career...no, I am scared for what happens if ALL art is eventually replaced by AI. If Picasso can be replicated with the push of a button, then will people even care if a museum has the original "Girl Before a Mirror?" In a thousand years, will humans or martians of the future be able to study human history if all of the art, writings, and photos were generated by a computer?
Without sounding dramatic, we are standing at the precipice of the end of humanity as we know it. We need to decide right now if we are going to allow AI to write our history, or if we are going to write our own history. I chose Humanity, and if you choose humanity, you need to support art that is designed by humans.
*There is one example of a movie that imagines AI replacing humans...and it is called Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Watch that cheerful movie and see how this plays out...