I remember reading futuristic books as a child.
I read everything from doomsday predictions of war and wastelands to happy utopias and unity. Films were the same, of course. The Matrix is a personal favorite of mine, if not my favorite. In that film/anime/video game series; humanity lives in a computer-generated world but is unaware of this. Over time, the protagonists learn of a history where A.I. eventually took over and harvested people for their power source.
All that was a thing of the past, though. We humans (at least, the smarter coalition) have gone on to utilize ‘robots’ for many useful purposes: manufacturing, testing, and microwaving our TV dinners. Actually, depending where you draw the line, one could claim that robots are present in everything.
Artificial Intelligence is a little more specific than that, although also quite close to daily life. Think of search engines, your phone’s autocorrect adjusting to your lexicon, or …A.I. programs like Midjourney or Chat GPT.
All of the art in this post has been created by Midjourney, a Discord-run artificial intelligence program in which the computer creates images. CREATES images! Simply put in a specific set of instructions and away it goes!
It’s not difficult. I mean, not for basic things. I’ve been watching Kevin and the boys play with it for months now. For more complicated works, Kevin pulls out his Photoshop wizardry -since the bot has trouble creating the correct number of fingers or a face that doesn’t resemble nightmares. As you see in the example above, however, it can handle things fairly well with the simple prompt ‘shrek eating a taco.’
All well and good. No one’s going to be bothered by Shrek and tacos, yes? There’s no war or wasteland from that.
Not necessarily, no.
But what about artists? Art copyrights? Meeka of acflory clued many in by posting about a competition in which the winner used A.I. “Is ‘art’ still art if an AI makes it?” she asks.
When I first read this article, my initial reaction was horror. How could a piece of software, no matter how sophisticated, produce something this…beautiful? But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it was the parameters set by [the winning artist] Jason Allen that had created an image of great beauty, so in that sense, Midjourney was simply another tool.Meeks
I admit an AI is a bit more high tech than a paintbrush, but the creativity still came from Allen.
What do you think? The beginning of the end for artists? Or just one more tool?
Art or tool? Who draws the line?
Thoughts like this buzz in my head as I’ve watched Kevin and our boys play around with other A.I. tools, like Chat GPT. It’s a content-generator, and it’s not bad. In fact, I’ve wanted to write about A.I. replacing us for a while. I wanted to tell Chat GPT to ‘write me a blog post’ just to throw it all in our faces.
That extra step has delayed my writing about it since November, though. -Not that it’s difficult; I just couldn’t find justification for the extra time spent.
But, yes; we, too, are being taken over by robots. We being writers.
I watched Kevin use it to write a children’s story. Our underage boys have started DND campaigns. A friend told it to write a treasure hunt for her children. Yes, we’ve had to edit the results. Having worked a bit in the cesspool of content-writing, though, I can say that this program is several English-Fluency-Test-Results higher than most of the writers one finds out there. As much as I disliked the dark recesses of what really creates content out there, I also know that many poor people in developing countries do it as their livelihood.
I’d love to end this post on a happy note. My inner child isn’t feeling it. She wanted to grow up to be an artist; later, a writer. Maybe she’d be a writer but also an artist? It’s just not worth it anymore…
What do you think about all this? Do you think using machines to create makes you the creator?
Want the week’s run-down? Here it is:
Friday, January 20: Friday Photo of some Sad Animals.
Saturday, January 21: “For You, John,” about my penchant to back-date. All in the name of Procrastination, yes?
Sunday, January 22: A quote from a good friend of mine.
Monday, January 23: Mormon Monday: Singing!
Tuesday, January 24: “A Couple Ten Miles and Other Phrases What Gang Aft Agley” in response to Doug’s prompt -although I missed the linkup.
Wednesday, January 25: This post. Yes, it’s on Wednesday.
Don’t forget to enter the Terrible Poetry Contest. No, I haven’t read the entries yet. I’m working on it!
©2023 Chel Owens