Updated: Apr 20, 2020
Ai-Da, the world’s first artificial intelligence artist created by the British company Engineered Arts is getting its own solo show at Cambridge University. The show, titled Unsecured Futures, will feature drawings, sculptures and videos created by the ultra realistic AI. Ai-Da is the first AI that can draw without any human interaction, is touted as a massive step in the industry of AI and is key in transitioning that AI movement into the arts.
When I first heard about this, my initial thought was just, why? There’s thousands upon thousands of artists out here who are making awesome work but can’t get a sniff from a gallery, yet a computer program is doing dog-shit drawings with a robot arm and we’re giving it a solo show. Don’t get me wrong, I think Ai-Da is an incredible feat of engineering and the team behind it should be praised heavily but come on… it’s like ball-point pen doodles. I’ve seen a few articles and interviews where people are comparing this to how photo and video weren’t considered art when they first appeared, but this seems to be the opposite. It’s almost as if that comparison was made at the beginning, so to counteract it we’re just over glorifying whatever is created within this new media type. Photo was a long standing tool for documenting and even the earliest “cameras,” like the camera obscura, were used as tools to help artists create. So once photo was more accessible to the everyday person it was crafted and became more than just a documenting tool and was really transformed into an artistic medium and then video took a similar path. But now we’ve got a robot arm with a silicone mask that looks like a person cheffing up terrible doodles and we’re praising the art and just trying to turn it into a new artistic facet. Again, engineering wise this is massive, but the art isn’t good and if we’re giving this nonsense a solo show then we’re not letting the AI thing grow into an actual artistic style or tool.
All in all, I just think the whole thing is kind of dumb. Again, there’s tons of artists who are creating excellent work across all mediums but they can’t get a look so why not try to promote them and let the AI art develop more. Yes it should be acknowledged and praised because AI is no small feat for technology, but artistically it just isn’t there yet and I strongly believe we’re being counterproductive to its development if we’re pump up the art being made right now because it’s honestly just booty. I’m very interested in getting some feedback and hearing some more opinions on this, especially from my more tech oriented artists because I’m very much not that so my opinion might be skewed.