Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has accelerated rapidly in recent years, expanding its capabilities to enhance artistic expression while raising new ethical, legal, and artistic questions, particularly with regard to the production of art using AI generators. . Colorado game designer Jason Allen recently filed the claim.lawsuitchallenging the US Copyright Office's rejection of his Colorado State Fair winning piece "Theater D'opera Spatial", which used artificial intelligence software Midjourney.
He(CAHSS) asked the newsroomchris coleman, artist and teacherNew digital practices(EDP) and directorOpen source art clinicto share their observations on the pros and cons of using AI technology, how EDP is paving the way for incorporating AI into the classroom, and how technology could shape the future of digital art.
Has AI technology changed the way you teach your EDP classes, and if so, can you give some examples of this?
Well, we call this department "Emerging Digital Practices," so we've been tracking and testing and thinking about every technology that comes out, including AI, which is certainly moving much faster than some of the other technologies in terms of its Latest Leaps This type of machine learning technology has been around for five or six years, and we started teaching courses on it four years ago.
The newest AI tools have gone from something hard to write to a website that brings art back to you. It's that super simple, consumer-oriented part that's new. Previously, we used this machine learning technology by creating a database of images or other data, for example, of extinct birds, putting them into a machine learning model, and getting new birds that the machine imagined.
With some of these new systems likestable diffusion, they practically practiced it on every image in the last 30 years of the Internet. The variety of things you can do is very different from training your own model with your own images and controlling it.
What about newer platforms that let you write image queries and instruct them to create images "in the style" of a famous artist?
I think the example of an artist naming artificial intelligence system is probably the most egregious and controversial for digital artists. If you want to sit down and write something like "weird portrait of a man whose face looks like a dog", I think there's a reason to consider it a valid artistic practice. But when you tell him to do it in the style of William Wegman, for example, that's a point that a lot of artists have trouble with.
This would not be possible if the images in those huge image databases were not tagged with the artist's name. At some point, someone was also stealing our work from places like DeviantArt [an online community of artists] and others where artists posted artwork for free and their names were attached and entered into a database. If someone had tagged those images something like "tunnel with aliens", I think people would have understood that it was part of a collage, but the moment you said "Chris Coleman style" for example, it opened the door for others. people who create art in my style.
Suddenly, artists start to wonder why they were posting their art for free in all these places that don't protect their copyrights or their personal livelihood. We were once again reminded that if something is free on the Internet, the product is you, period. All these places just sold all the art you've done in the last 10 years to big databases and I think there's going to be a reconciliation of what it means to own your data and share art and how you want to participate in that. system.
And some artists don't care. I try to make a lot of my art copyrighted or labeled Creative Commons because I believe that all art feeds off other art. The question is what is the difference between being inspired and recovering or rebuilding one's artistic sensibility? Artists have always struggled with that line between inspiration and copy, and this made crossing that line incredibly easy.
What kinds of conversations do you have with students about accessing art-making websites and using them wisely to enhance artistic expression?
We have an introductory digital imaging course where you will learn how to edit images and combine multiple images together. So we opened it up to say, "instead of just taking your photos and searching the internet for photos, you can also try writing queries and getting new images from the AI machine." But we're very convinced that you can't just send that image, you have to process it like any other photo you can use to make it your own.
Some of our teachers use some interesting AI technologies. For example,Laleh Mehranuses AI tools in a video art class. AI has opened up some really cool visual effects that used to take dozens of hours and labor intensive that are usually relegated to places like India. Now you can use AI tools to do many of those things faster and almost better.
So is it more about using AI tools to enhance the original art?
Exactly. In some of our cultural theory classes, we also read texts generated by AI GPT chatbot-like systems and interact with them. TeacherTraza Reddelland I've experimented with students typing things into chat systems and having the computer respond to spark new conversations. And in a way, since the computer is using already written texts, you're working on a collaborative collage of old and new knowledge and using the computer's language errors creates new poetic conversations.
What about the lawsuit recently filed by Jason Allen? What do you think about the issues raised by the lawsuit and the broader conversation with students about artists incorporating AI technology into their work?
The US Copyright Office [last month] published a new oneartificial intelligence initiativecontaining additional registration guidelines for the use of AI images. That still wouldn't invalidate this lawsuit, but they were of the general opinion that you can't copyright work produced by AI. Now it's more about being able to use artificial intelligence, but then it needs to be significantly processed, touched up, or manipulated to be copyrightable. So if I take some AI-required images and then edit and stitch them together by hand, that's subject to copyright.
To be honest, we will have to accept and process a future where it is valid to write these long and complex instructions to create works of art. As for EDP, I think we would still stick to the principle that if you're going to name a contractor in your inquiry, you have to cite them and identify the contractor you're borrowing from. But if you don't specifically name an artist, there's no way to give them more credit than to say they were part of the media for their tools. And that's what I'm starting to see in art show presentations listing artificial intelligence as the medium being used.
At EDP we teach our students to be aware of what they do. I think in the long run these copyright guidelines will be overridden and we'll have to accept that [using AI tools and queries] is just a different kind of artistic process. And yes, they have swallowed a lot of art and they will get mad and make a big fuss about it. But in the future, artists need to be much more aware of the rights they are giving up when they post their work online. To me, that's a realistic future. I think [Allen] has every right to say that this is my artwork, that this is an artistic process now, and that these are the tools that are available to me.
Are students excited about using artificial intelligence as a tool in their artwork?
Most of our EDPs and art students think that anything super popular online, from NFTs [non-fungible tokens] and cryptocurrencies to artificial intelligence, is something dangerous and hyper-technological. They are repulsed by the culture that surrounds them. We have some students who are engaged and want to use AI for everything, but not the majority. We had some conversations about this last quarter in my regular curriculum class called "Understanding Digital Arts" and there were students who think using AI is theft and we spent a lot of time having a more nuanced conversation about that.
The issues around using AI in art projects are complicated, but I'm glad we're having this conversation, and I'm glad to teach as part of a course exploring this space as it develops. I love that in our classes we don't hang our heads, we look directly into the fire and it's fun and amazing but also a wild ride.
Listen to the related RadioEd podcast on the issues surrounding the use of AI technologyhere.
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