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Art, since the begin­ning of human civ­i­liza­tion, has been an omnipresent force, con­stant­ly mutat­ing and evolv­ing in its forms. It has the pow­er to tran­scend time and cul­ture, embody­ing the spir­it of the epoch in which it was con­ceived. Just as we have tran­si­tioned from cave paint­ings to Renais­sance mas­ter­pieces, and from impres­sion­ism to dig­i­tal art, we now find our­selves on the cusp of yet anoth­er trans­for­ma­tion: the inte­gra­tion of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence into the realm of art and design.

The arrival of AI has stirred the pot, lead­ing us to grap­ple with ques­tions around orig­i­nal­i­ty, copy­right, and the very nature of cre­ativ­i­ty. While it is an excit­ing devel­op­ment, it’s also rais­ing some eye­brows. But this is not unusu­al; any new tool, inven­tion, or trend tends to cre­ate rip­ples before it finds its place in the grand scheme of things.

Historical Interludes: Art and Tools

From the chis­el to the paint­brush, from the can­vas to the com­put­er screen, artists have always adapt­ed their tal­ents to uti­lize the tools avail­able in their time. Leonar­do da Vin­ci, for exam­ple, used the cam­era obscu­ra, a pre­cur­sor to mod­ern pho­tog­ra­phy, to study light and per­spec­tive.[2]

A glance towards the Far East reveals that this trend is not lim­it­ed to the West­ern world. Chi­nese artists tra­di­tion­al­ly honed their skills by copy­ing the works of mas­ters, a prac­tice known as Lin­mo. This prac­tice gave birth to numer­ous works of art, each bear­ing the indeli­ble touch of the indi­vid­ual artist despite their ori­gin in imi­ta­tion.[2]

Art’s rela­tion­ship with tech­nol­o­gy has been an endur­ing one. Thus, the emer­gence of AI as a new tool in the arse­nal of the mod­ern artist seems like a nat­ur­al pro­gres­sion in this con­tin­u­um.

Artificial Inspiration: AI in the Art World

So, where does AI fit into the grand tapes­try of art? Many argue that AI-gen­er­at­ed art is just a new tool await­ing mas­tery, akin to the first paint­brush­es or chis­els. Oth­ers, how­ev­er, wor­ry about its impli­ca­tions on orig­i­nal­i­ty and copy­right.

At its core, AI, with its learn­ing algo­rithms, func­tions in a way that’s remark­ably sim­i­lar to a human artist. It observes, it learns, it cre­ates. But, instead of brush strokes on a can­vas, it uti­lizes lines of code and vast data­bas­es of images.

AI’s role in art is mul­ti­fac­eted. It can be a tool to aid the cre­ative process, a col­lab­o­ra­tor that offers unex­pect­ed per­spec­tives, or even a solo artist, gen­er­at­ing cap­ti­vat­ing pieces with lit­tle human inter­ven­tion.

AI has been at the helm of some spec­tac­u­lar cre­ations, such as the first AI-gen­er­at­ed por­trait, “Edmond de Belamy,” which sold at Christie’s auc­tion house for an astound­ing $432,500.[3] The image was cre­at­ed by an algo­rithm devel­oped by Paris-based art col­lec­tive, Obvi­ous.

Author or Tool: Who Owns the Copyright?

This brings us to a vex­ing ques­tion: who owns the copy­right to AI-gen­er­at­ed art? The tool or the mas­ter?

From my per­spec­tive, as an artist with a Mas­ter’s degree, I see AI as just anoth­er tool — albeit an advanced one. I pro­vide the prompt, select the style, eval­u­ate the com­po­si­tion, col­or scheme, and details. With­out a sound under­stand­ing of these ele­ments, the out­comes of AI can be incon­sis­tent.

How­ev­er, the process of cre­ation is much more com­plex. I might gen­er­ate 200 images, each unique in its own way, to find that per­fect one. It is akin to a min­er sift­ing through heaps of stone in search of a dia­mond. In this sce­nario, is the val­ue attrib­uted to the min­er or his tools?

In the past, the artist was val­ued for their skills and cre­ativ­i­ty. But, as AI begins to encroach upon the cre­ative space, it’s only fair to ques­tion whether we will see a shift in this per­spec­tive.

Adapting to Change or Sticking to Old Values?

Ulti­mate­ly, the ques­tion that looms over us is: will art adapt to incor­po­rate AI, or will it stick to its age-old val­ues?

I believe that just as art has assim­i­lat­ed numer­ous tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments in the past, it will con­tin­ue to do so. But, in this adap­tive process, it will not lose its inher­ent essence. Instead, it will evolve, becom­ing rich­er and more diverse.

Will AI-gen­er­at­ed art­works ever be val­ued as much as tra­di­tion­al­ly-cre­at­ed ones? Well, I’ll let you decide that.

Despite the debates, there is no deny­ing the wind of change is blow­ing in the art world. Whether we choose to resist or ride this wind, only time will tell.

Dis­claimer: The core of this arti­cle was authored by me, with some edits by AI. All images attached to this post are AI-gen­er­at­ed.


  1. Da Vin­ci and the Cam­era Obscu­ra. My Mod­ern Met
  2. Chi­nese Art & Copy­ing. Depart­ment of Asian Art, The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art
  3. Christie’s Auc­tion: The AI Art­work That Sold for $432,500

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