AI and How It’s Changing the Art World

Artificial intelligence, or AI, seems to be touching just about everything right now. But how do AI and art work together?
AI and Art, artificial intelligence, colorful robot

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing our entire world, including the art world. Odds are you’ve seen art created by AI and didn’t even realize it. Sure, you knew it when you watched a science fiction movie or something that pushed the imagination. But it’s also likely popped up in places in your daily life without you having any idea that a computer created it with the help of an artist.

AI is, without a doubt, changing how art is created, consumed, and appreciated. Using advanced machine learning techniques, the technology can help artists create incredible images, generate creative ideas, and automate routine image editing tasks. It’s masterful at creating illustrations and art quickly. 

What’s the impact?

Robot drawing a picture; AI and artificial intelligence

AI has already had a significant impact on creativity. It changes the traditional concept of what art is and how it’s created and often expedites the creative process. Art can be produced in a fraction of the time it would take otherwise. Sometimes, it’s just seconds to see results. If it was done manually, it could take days in some cases. If the artist is working with a client and wants to offer several options, this makes that simple. That speed can actually enhance the artistic process in many cases.

What are the AI options for artists?

There are several tools and techniques that are really like the pallet an artist can use when incorporating AI into their work. It’s important that you think of it as the artist partnering with the AI instead of one or the other doing it all. There are computer-aided drawing tools, including Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), art chatbots, image style algorithms, and more.

The GANs are essentially two neural networks that work together to create images that look like the one provided by the artist. The image-style algorithms let artists apply different image styles to a single image, like unique visual effects. A style algorithm combines two images into a single one, similar to a filter. Art chatbots are also a collaboration of sorts, where the end result can be very innovative. All of these options allow for easy experimentation for artists and, if used right, can actually expand their creativity.

So, who gets the credit?

Robot drawing a picture; AI and art

One thing AI is changing about art is the idea of authorship and authenticity. In traditional paintings, the artist would autograph his work in the corner. In this case, does the computer get to cosign? That’s up for debate these days, with some arguing that artists can’t call themselves the ultimate creator since it’s a team effort, so to speak.

Another issue is that AI tools allow art to be easily copied, which isn’t ideal for any artist. How will that impact the value of the originals or even the copies if they look the same?

Another concern is whether computers will lead to a homogenized look. With mass production, will there still be opportunities to make each piece unique? Originality is everything in the art world, and there’s concern AI may crush that. 

It will be key to keep the artist actively involved in how these advancements are woven into the art world. No one wants to see human artists replaced by a machine. To be perfectly honest, some of these art jobs are professions human artists have made good incomes and careers of, and some roles and work can already be done with a machine instead of a human. The true value of AI will now be in the artist telling the machine what art to make, not in actually making it. If the artist is taken from the equation, it’s sure to lead to fewer artists in the future, which will undoubtedly negatively impact individual expression and the role that personal experiences take in creating a masterpiece.

The future implications

an artificial intelligence paints a portrait of a woman (3d rendering)

It’s clear AI will continue to impact the art world, and its role will continue to evolve. If it’s used to enhance and improve art, with the artist maintaining their role in the creativity, the impact can be very positive. In fact, the efficiency of the machine may ultimately allow the artist to spend more time on the creative side of things.

It also may allow for more personalization since AI easily allows for changes for each individual. That may increase the appreciation for the final product, knowing it’s unique to that person’s preferences and tastes. It’s exciting to think of where we are now and where computer-generated art will take us in the near future as AI advances at lightning speed. That said, there may also be a downside, especially if the intent is to manipulate images to mislead the public or harm people, which is already happening in some cases. We’ve all seen the images going around of certain politicians dressed in drag, images created by AI that look incredibly real.

AI has also played a critical role in creating so-called fake news, where people see an image and come to the quick conclusion that it must be real if it’s online. Seeing is believing, right? Well, not so much anymore, and new AI tools have made it easier than ever to mislead people into believing falsehoods. And that’s just the tools already created. You can bet that other techniques are being developed right now that may also harm or deceive the public. We can only imagine. 


The bottom line is AI is definitely making its mark on the art world and will continue to do so at an alarming rate. AI-based tools are being integrated into easy-to-use apps that can make all of us artists if that’s our desire. Of course, that creates anxiety for people who make their living as artists and causes concern for their future. But instead of being fearful of the future, it’s important for artists to embrace its benefits and find ways to use AI’s abilities to become even more productive and creative in the end.

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