DALL-E compiles, sifts, and analyzes. But it doesn’t dare. It doesn’t take risks. Only humans, our vulnerable species, can. Walter Kirn writes.
Keyword ‘artificial’ nothing creative about it. Our world is losing everything of value. Creativity, emotion, morality, ethics, kindness, love, humanity, beauty & the ability to take the time to appreciate any of it. Technology has stolen our humanity. IMHO.
AI images aren't for artists, they're for businesses who don't want to pay artists. They don't care that the images are soulless, they just want more control over the process of selling images and using images to sell things. DALL-E won't be used to make art, it will be used for advertisements (already ugly) and entertainment (just barely interesting to the numb and trained.)
"It’s largely a cultural-mining operation with a clever assembly line on top."
One might argue that this is essentially what's happening in the human brain anyway; most of what we would call real "art" is just remixing culture. It looks like the graphic arts are now going to follow a similar trajectory as music: real value will be created through interactive experiences rather than the final product itself, and only those artists who focus on the performance and experience of their craft will be able to support themselves independently.
A small point, but “Weightlifting Cat” is most definitely not painted (generated) in the style of van Gogh.
This sounds like early criticism of photography.
In particular (from 1855), "As long as 'invention and feeling constitute essential qualities in a work of Art,' the writer argued, 'Photography can never assume a higher rank than engraving.'"
It's just technology. There will continue to be painters and traditional artists, and yes, even photographers.
The younger generations may view DALL-E differently. They have been abysmally educated in the history and depth of Western culture. A generation raised on high tech video games is a generation to embrace DALL-E. They will not understand your objections to it.
Fantastic Walter. It's an impressive circus act, but nothing more than one of those arcade games where you try to grab the item you want from the items in the tank.
Further reading- There was an great essay from Solana discussing DALL-E, regarding possible royalties for the artists DALL-E was trained on.
I don't totally understand the artificial world we are sliding toward, but it is clear that somewhere along the way a lot of people have been tossed into life completely unprepared to live and celebrate it. Copying pictures or literature is not art; I believe it is called plagiarism.
More accessible than print, which humans are getting too illiterate or lazy to absorb anyway. Will probably replace commercial artists and flood our eyes with more noise than we can/want to observe. Progress is not an unmixed blessing.
Am I a traditionalist? Yes. Let me see what you can produce by your own hand, that kind of ability is art.
As a self-taught artist I struggle with this new digital world. Art has always been determined by the person viewing it. I've been taught not to be an art snob, but I really do believe that what a computer produces is only regurgitated human artifacts, not art.
The road to this moment was paved by self-styled 'artists' who got everyone to pretend that a banana taped to a wall or a photograph of a crucifix immersed in urine is not only 'art', but 'great art' at the level of the Sistine Chapel. In a domain where everything has become a put-on, advocates for DALL-E and other, similar systems are right at home.
Boy, Walter is just the guy to articulate this. He, to me, is like a battery with a wire that is held in a hand and scratched across one pole while wired tightly to the other. What happens is inconsistent and unexpected, but jolts the hell out of you once in a while. I feel like Walter's internal world is panoramic and alien and his words are a pale reflection of it, but sometimes you get the gist and it is haunting. THAT is what tech can't do. The ghost in the machine; the spark of divinity which is the ability to create. We return to a place we always knew and see it for the first time; lovely. Thanks Walter.
This is one of the best articles I have seen on the subject of AI and what it is and isn't. In a nutshell: "DALL-E depends on art already made, on photos already taken, aesthetic assumptions statistically derived, and a language—our language—formed over the centuries by acts of communication innumerable about whose nature the great machine knows nothing. It’s largely a cultural-mining operation with a clever assembly line on top."
It reminds me of the joke about scientists coming to God and saying they have found out how to create life. God says, "OK show me." A scientist reaches down to get a handful of ground. God says, "Whoa there, get your own dirt!".
AI can create art when it gets its own dirt.
People misunderstand the use of the term “artificial intelligence.”
To the astonishment of many, there is as yet no such thing as AI. It’s all human-generated code run very quickly. Not a single action performed by the algorithms is the least bit spontaneous. If you ask the algorithm to depart from its parameters it stops because it has no brain, no way to step beyond the code and produce something different than that for which it is programmed.
Google co-opted the work of millions of humans over a decade in order to generate maps with semi-accurate placement of stop signs, crosswalks, etc. and likely everyone reading this site has participated.
The captchas that ask you to click on the stop signs, traffic lights etc are used by Google to generate those maps.
The same applies to DALL-E. If you ask the program to, oh, solve a vector equation for example it will freeze.
Which is one of many reasons I’ll never sit in a “self driving” car. I know how code works and I know there’s not a snowball’s chance in hades the code can handle even the most mundane of traffic hazards.
I refuse to own a vehicle with “anti-collision” sensors for the same reason.
DALL-E users may think they’re creating “art” but all they’re doing is deluding themselves.
Curious that this "fake" art is already winning competitions and beating out "real" artists. Perhaps I'm not as creative as the author, but I generally see imagination and ingenuity as taking experiences one has had and applying them in new and unforeseen ways. Something DALL-E clearly does.
That being said, the author is clearly a talented writer. They should definitely use his work as training material for the next GPT-3 model. That way we can have the great writing without the terrible ideas.