What is human about art? What is inhuman about AI?

So let's go over some history. This is art history but it's also tech history. Because everything is tech history. War, love, art, and cooking - it's all a history of the methods using which we do these things.

We have been talking about AI Art and how many are saying that it's not real art. I will be writing about this in more detail some other time, but I noticed a cycle that I wanted to bring to your notice. It has to do with the human artistic impulse asserting itself over and over. And the reason it keeps having to assert itself is becasue technology keeps threatning to eradicate it.

There used to be painters. They captured reality in realistic ways and the methods they used were time-consuming and required lifetimes of practice and training. When photography came along, it wasn't as good as it is today. Doubtless, there were those who said things that were some version of "a machine will never do what a human can do". A few centuries later, we are at a point where photography can not only do what painters do, but often also more.

More recently, within my lifetime in fact, we saw the coming of 3D modeling and 3D animation. It was quite limited in the beginning and people did perhaps say it will "never do what real photographs do". But as time passed, it got better and has now gotten to a point where it is essentially undistinguishable from photographs and actual video representations of reality. Entire films can now be made with no human actors.

In a strangely ironic way, when 3D modeling got good, the ones who were on the "human" side were the same people who had been on the side of the inhuman technologocal side a few centuries ago.

The point I am making is that perhaps what we define as "human" is simply things humans get into the habit of doing. painting is not inherently more human than photography. And photographing a human being isn't inherently more human than creating a 3D model of one. AI tools are bound to become an integral part of the creative process of many artists. And in a few years, when something else comes along to change the status quo (maybe the ability to think physical objects into existence), it is entirely possible that people who are creating using AI at that point will call it something inhuman that will "never replace" humanity.

And it will be nonsense of course. Just the way it has been nonsense throughout history. Photography didn't end painting. 3D modeling didn't end photography. AI isn't going to replace artists. All that happens is that human beings develop new ways of creating art.

Write a comment ...


Show your support

If my work has provided you with insight and entertainment, consider supporting it.

Recent Supporters

Write a comment ...