Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has been within the news, most recently in regards to the Hollywood actors’ strike concerning the potential impact of AI in filmmaking.
Another story involved AI getting used to replicate the voice of the Canadian rapper Drake in a track that went viral.

These stories raise questions on performers’ rights, and likewise lead people to wonder: will AI replace artists?

These questions are also germane given recent advances in generative artificial intelligence
trained on an unlimited amount of existing images which were used to create latest images based only on user-provided prompts.

I’m a composer who has used creative AI in my music and sound practice for nearly twenty years. My creative practice and research has focused upon the potential for a collaborative relationship between artists and AI. From my perspective, while we’re in a time of disruption where many artists might want to renegotiate terms of their labour in a brand new technological context, there are also opportunities for various types of collaboration.

AI-generated images

AI-generated high-quality images range from concept art for video games to photorealistic works.

Examples of generative AI visual art include fantastical images:

Image created by the creator using using the prompt: ‘Astronaut playing a violin while riding a blue horse in a field of sunflowers fantasy art.’ Notice the floating violin bow and incorrect right hand position.

Works also can mimic the type of existing artists.

Young person holding a bullhorn and a red flower in the style of Banksy
Image created by the creator in using the prompt: ‘Young person holding a bullhorn and a red flower within the type of Banksy.’

The freely available online systems used to create the above images are examples of the progress made in artificial intelligence getting used to generate novel material. Perhaps the largest advance is these systems’ ease of use: they’re readily usable and accessible to most people.

Will AI replace artists?

On one hand, the reply as to if AI will replace artists isn’t any.

Generative AI is a strong tool that may expand the chances of art making and can still require the guiding hand of a human artist. As with any latest technology, some creative processes will turn out to be each easier and fewer time-consuming with AI.

For example, an artist focused on generating visual imagery can suggest a prompt and the AI produces it immediately. Instead of taking hours or days to experiment with an idea, it could take minutes and even seconds.

The current image-producing systems still require human interaction through each a text prompt and the curation of its output, itself an inventive act.

On the opposite hand, these limitations will soon be overcome: human-provided prompts can easily get replaced by generated prompts (which some systems already allow for).

Research into creative AI has already produced systems that may evaluate their very own output through aesthetic judgements (somewhat than only mimicing its data set).

As such, there may be the very real potential that an limitless supply of fully AI-produced artwork will constitute much of the imagery we see online and flood the market.

Reasons to hope

For many practising artists there are reasons to hope.

Creative AI can allow some artists greater time and energy to explore artistic avenues, thereby producing not only more art, but potentially more paradigm-shifting art.

Artist and scholar Philip Galanter, who explores art theory bridging the gap between the cultures of science and the humanities, has defined “generative art” as “any art practice where the artist uses a system, comparable to a set of natural language rules, a pc program, a machine, or other procedural invention, which is ready into motion with some extent of autonomy contributing to or leading to a accomplished murals.”

Generative art-making practices have been around for many years (arguably for much longer). Human interaction with these systems can produce truly stunning work.

Current systems can only produce mashups of existing data. While the output could also be novel in that a given output may never have existed previously, its esthetic value could also be limited.

AI, labour and creativity

The music industry has been driven by style-replicating processes for many years, during which an artist may produce a genuinely novel work after which others fill the available space around it with variations of that work’s style. It takes true creativity to supply something outside the present paradigm and AI is nowhere near that stage.

However, it won’t be long before those producers merely creating the identical formulaic songs will probably be in direct competition with AIs that may achieve this rather more efficiently.

The generative AI used to recreate Drake’s voice was trained on many copyrighted songs featuring his voice. In such cases, music industry figures argue
this broke copyright law. In this case, an artist used AI as a tool to create something latest; it’s doubtful anyone would argue it was the AI itself that was being creative.
Apart from the legal and ethical query of using his voice, Drake may be regarded as being replaced labour.

In the case of Hollywood actors at risk of getting their likenesses reproduced similarly by an AI, it is going to be directors and producers which can be the creative artists, and the actors the displaced labour.

In my very own work, I actually have never viewed AI as replacing anyone. Instead, I consider it an alternate creative voice trained by myself esthetics. I actually have gone out of my strategy to proceed to work with human artists who interact with my systems.

One movement from “A Walk to Meryton,” the most recent work involving generative AI by the creator.

My latest album places the musebots, my creative AI, before my very own name, but still clearly credits the person musicians with which I — and my AI system — collaborated.

In this work, the AI generated the complete composition, including choosing all the person sounds. My role (after the musebots were coded) was to hearken to the ultimate work and judge whether I should ask my human musical collaborators to play with it.

AI is nothing without humans

We are on the precipice of systems with the ability to generate entire songs. Many of the roadblocks to such generation have been, or are near being, solved.

This includes successfully separating different elements of a song — the melody, the bass, the beat — to permit them to be analyzed individually. Given this information, AI can then begin to know how music is put together structurally, a significant step beyond the present generative models that use simplistic constructing block methods for creating data.

But just like the image-generating systems, AI music will probably be a mashup of what’s already on the market. It would require the collaboration of human artists to point it in novel directions and determine whether the output is even worthwhile.

AI is not going to replace artists in the long run; as a substitute, they will probably be needed greater than ever.

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