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AI in the World of Art

This image was created by an AI art generator on Night Cafe using the prompt, "Picture for a news article about AI art."
This image was created by an AI art generator on Night Cafe using the prompt, "Picture for a news article about AI art."

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making waves across the nation. With its prominence in video games, application filters and script writing, AI is now trying to replicate pieces of art.

AI generator sites, such as NightCafe Creator and HotPot.Ai are continuously growing in popularity. The programs function by the user inputting different keywords to create the product that they want.

Vanessa Cannon, a teaching professor in the Emerging Technology Business and Design (ETBD) program at Miami University, said AI should be used as a tool like any other.

“We try not to look at technology as an enemy, more like a kind of a tool that we can use appropriately,” Cannon said.

Sam Toland, a visiting professor in the architecture and interior design department, taught a course last semester in graphic media, which is required for architecture and interior design students. Students had to complete a research project that focused on AI and used keywords related to architecture.

“The goal with the project was to use AI as a research tool to see what sort of keywords students could come up with that were related to architecture,” Toland said.

Toland said he wanted the project to expand his students’ perception of AI.

“[AI-generated art] allows you to see more possibilities than you would come up with on your own,” Toland said. “It's able to take a lot more information than a single person is able to because it’s trained on approximately 5.8 billion images.”

Students in Toland’s class presented their artwork in an AI exhibition which was featured in the Art Building. Lucy Smothers, a sophomore interior design major, and Gigi Sedeno, a sophomore architecture major, both participated in the project.

For Smothers, the project was an introduction to the world of AI.

“I had no idea that [AI] was even a thing,” Smothers said. “I had no idea that the internet and technology were so powerful at this point … it’s just insane how vast it is.”

Sedeno said the exhibit proved there are benefits to AI in art. The project helped her see AI as a tool for inspiration, she said.

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“It was honestly really fun to put a bunch of contradicting words together to see what would happen,” Sedeno said. “I think it is successful in bringing outlandish concepts together.”

AI can’t just create new pieces on a whim. That inspiration has to come from somewhere. The art is taken from creators whose works are original ideas and blends them together without attribution.

“I don't think AI art is actually art,” Cannon said. “I think it's just composition.”

With AI growing more advanced everyday, people fear that computers will start replacing jobs and artists. Once ChatGPT, another AI system, becomes a little more developed, Toland says it could replace customer service workers, such as those at call centers.

“It is responsive to a certain level and it can answer a lot of questions or deal with a lot of things relatively quickly, which would save companies money,” Toland said. “ But people need jobs, and there's a lot of concern as well.”

Despite fears of AI replacing artists, current generators can only mimic existing art, not create anything wholly original.

“I would rather have an artist be creative because things that we come up with, are the things AI is trying to mimic and imitate,” Cannon said. “I find [it] pretty empty. It’s like being in love with a robot.”