When you hear about artificial intelligence or AI, you may think that it’s still a futuristic illusion. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, movies and TV shows featured human-like robots who acted as personal assistants and did household chores. As the robot character developed and humans related to them in everyday life, they would take on human characteristics like compassion and empathy. In the creative realm of books, TV, and movies, we dreamed up artificial intelligence a long time ago. Part of the progression of AI in entertainment was that a robot would grow in what it learned and understood. They were not stagnant machines; they became self-aware.
Self-awareness is a form of artificial intelligence, and it might seem that this type of AI would change our world most dramatically, mimicking the creation of life. The greatest minds in the world have worked to achieve this for hundreds of years. While AI may not be as advanced as the human mind and body, it has been in progress for decades. You’re most likely already using artificial intelligence as part of your daily routine.
Some examples of AI that you’re probably already using are:
- Google or Internet searches: search engines not only function when a database is called on from your search string, but they also learn from your search history and location
- Your phone unlocking with face recognition
- Digital Voice Assistants like: “Hey Siri” and “Hey Google”
- Advertisement and product recommendations: these are a collection of information based on what your phone hears, products and information you’ve looked up in the past, shopping history, and more…
- The “Help” or spellcheck and grammar function in any software that you’re using
As you can see, artificial intelligence has already been integrated into our lives for years. Remember the paperclip assistant in Microsoft Word or voicemail system call options from years ago? Those have been forms of AI from well over 20 years ago.
How has AI Changed Art?
If you don’t consider yourself an artist, you may not think much about how artificial intelligence has changed the world of art. However, as a consumer, you’re already seeing the result of AI in art every day. Photographers and digital artists have used AI for years to automatically put filters on photos, convert photos to illustrations, and create graphic art that you see on products, packaging, and in ads. This form of artificial intelligence has progressed more recently into creating images that were never real and CGI (computer-generated images) for video that replace human actors on film.
Now with AI, the creation of art is more readily available to everyone; no need to be an artist or world-class photographer. There is a conflict with original artists, actors, and producers, who learned their trade and spent years developing these skills to create. Now, with a bit of software knowledge, non-skilled artists can create, which leads to the fear that AI will replace humans and their inherent artistic skill and originality.
Many artists still believe that while AI can create realistic images, sounds, words, and films, it still cannot capture or represent the emotion and complexities of what a human artist can create.
How AI Has Changed Photography
Personally, I spent years building a photography business which was a portion of a creative media business that I established in the early 2000s. As digital cameras became more affordable and accessible by about 2009, I would half-jokingly say, “Everyone’s a photographer.” Deep down, I was losing my passion for the art of photography because what seemed rarer and more special just years prior was now overly accessible and competitive. Digital cameras use AI, but much of the magic happens in the editing process, which also takes years of skill and practice. Editing software has been largely overtaken by AI, using automated filters and photo processing techniques.
I had to ask myself, “What do I have to offer that a filter or digital processing does not?” My answer always came back to the human connection: the photographer with the subject. Creating a photo that’s well-composed, tells a story, and uses captivating lighting techniques. I concluded that no amount of automatic processing can replace that. It always comes back to human connection and how, as human beings, we are empathetic, curious, emotional, and nuanced. It’s the spark of creativity that can happen in an unexpected instant that still results in a captivating outcome.
How AI Has Changed The Written Word
As a writer, I have been somewhat troubled by the advancement of artificial intelligence that can automatically generate articles, books, scripts, and any form of the written word. Rather than panic when we hear students are using AI to write their papers, we must first consider that most of us have been using small forms of this technology for a long time. It began in word processing software with grammatical suggestions, synonym lookups, and word replacements and advanced into predictive text. Most of us are also using predictive text every day on our phone keyboards.
Computers and databases that are the foundations of artificial intelligence for writing still can’t tell a personal story, recount true emotion, or connect words to paper that come from the human soul. While AI may help you write an article or paper on a subject you know nothing about (or don’t care to know), it still can’t replace the human connection.
Learning To Live With Artificial Intelligence
It’s impossible to say where the progression of artificial intelligence will take us completely; I prefer to spend some time throughout my day reintegrating with tactile forms of art and communication. I write words on paper, practicing my handwriting and penmanship. I take photos with a camera that is not my phone and play music with my hands on strings that come from my mind and heart and are in no way digitized. To keep the human connection in all art forms, we must continue to practice the aspects of art that make it human.