Authentically Synthetic: Will human-made art matter?

Authentically Synthetic: Will human-made art matter?

I worked on the VFX team that made effects for Die Hard 4. When the first movie reviews came out, the media reported “it is so good to see that old-fashioned movie making has made a comeback over special effects driven visuals.” We celebrated as a team because a huge percentage of that movie was computer graphics and we made people think we hadn’t even been on the job. For a vfx artist, that is the ultimate success.

You’ll find that there is a huge amount of activity taking place in the synthetic content space. There are teams of people who are dedicated to creating synthetic worlds, audio, imagery, text, video and more. If they do their job correctly, you will never know.

But that is the exciting potential and the danger. In the future, how will we know what is real and what is not real? Will the future provide such unseen, such revolutionary creativity we won’t care anymore who made it?

I did an experiment for myself. I uploaded some of my original art into DALL-E and asked it for variations. What I got back was amazing. I honestly consider what I got back from the AI gorgeous and uniquely beautiful in their own right. Should I mention those AI variations on my original painting were created in less than a minute. Dammit. 

One of the consequences of the Age of Creative AI will be the value of human-created design, art, architecture going forward. When AI can suggest and design blueprints for revolutionary architectural structures why will we need people to design anything?

We will more likely need people to be AI “drivers”, who can “speak” to AI in a way that can prompt its most astonishing and optimal creations. Good prompters. I suggest that these people will be the ones who will be the great artists in the future, the AI translators.

Another thought; will we eventually need labels on art such as "AI-Generated" or "Human-Made" so we don't loose touch with our humanity and realistic human potentials as they evolve?

As someone who has made a living from creativity most of my life, I do not ask the above with joy, but more with curiosity. Democratisation of creativity and innovation is on the table, at speeds we have never experienced in human history. Are we going to extend the potential for human creativity or will we stagnate because we have outsourced our creativity to AI? The choice is really up to us.


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