Who is the creator of AI art?

To me, using ChatGPT or MidJourney to create something is somewhat akin to using a camera to take a photograph. It might be useful here to think back to the very dawn of photography.

When photographs first appeared, there was some confusion about authorship. Is it the person taking the picture who is responsible for the photo? Or is it the camera? Or is it the subject posing for the photo — since a photograph is just a faithful copy of its subject?

In time, photography came to be seen as an art form in its own right. People stopped thinking of the camera as some sort of magical thing.

Meanwhile, people started to understand that the artist was the photographer, as opposed the person posing of the picture or the maker of the camera. Taking a good photograph requires making some intelligent aesthetic choices, and it is the photographer who makes those choices.

Analogously, generative AI is creating a sort of copy of reality — albeit a reality that was scraped from many sources. The art resides in the choices made by the person wielding the “camera” to create something new and unique, only in this case the camera is the software being used, and the subject is the data that was gathered by the software.

From this perspective, it makes no sense to talk about an AI creating an original work. Rather, the original work is created by the human being who provides intelligent and creative prompts to the AI.

One thought on “Who is the creator of AI art?”

  1. A very insightful comment, thanks.
    Do you have any reference to learn more about these controversies regarding the ownership of photographs?

    There are also good parallelisms between the current panic of graphics designers facing AI-“art” and that of professional painters facing the invention of photography. Portraitist that made a living painting people surely suffered (I wonder how many are there today compared to 150 years ago). But then Picasso and company created a whole new class of art that was beyond photography’s reach. In a similar way, human authors will have to find new expressive methods that connect with humans out of reach of AI. Writing cheek in tongue is a possible method. Or maybe it could be standard practice that authors read aloud their writings to add emotion and corporal expressions to their creations. In any case, art (and humans) will advance. As the YT guy says: “what a time to be alive”!

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