Well here is a can of worms. Fun and frightening all at the same time. Enough to make any image creator face palm. I have been curiously playing with the Open AI DALL·E 2 software which can create realistic images from text prompts. Much like the ability to accurately and quickly find what you are looking for with a search engine, it takes a while to get used to “talking” to the AI. The more descriptive the better, with concepts, moods and different output styles all understood. The temptation to ask for spaceships seems to over rule my childlike mind with prompts such as “looking north from Princes Bridge in Melbourne on a hot day with a hyper colour sunset and a spaceship” naturally springing to mind.

Or “a giant pac-man eating cars on a busy Melbourne street”.

As we perhaps race towards some sort of singularity, like it or not AI may become a crucial part. Impossible to tell of course whether it becomes our greatest asset and presents thoughtful opinions, options, ideas and judgements based on a gazillion thoroughly considered outputs, or whether Elon’s warnings of ultimate doom and robot take over are more likely.

These images are “created” by the ever expanding understanding of the AI. They don’t seem useable as finished art, concept roughs for sure, but image quality and resolution will surely improve rapidly. The biggest grey area seems to be on creating images that are based on other artists or photographers. Full usage rights to commercialize the images you create with DALL·E are granted, so I could imagine feeling somewhat upset or confused if my name as an artist was used to generate an image. See the results below on searching for US photographer Stephen Shore images. Looking closely they barely seem like photographs, but they sure do feel like Stephen Shore was involved. Is the AI based on accessing a gazillion actual images? and from where? or rather a knowledge or understanding of the request? only the developers know what’s inside the box.

Prompt – “a Stephen Shore photograph of a carpark in the snow”.

Prompt – “a Stephen Shore photograph of a swimming pool in California”.

Still very early days, but I am the eternal optimist and like to embrace technology and all the potential offerings that it presents. I like to think of technology as an enabler and a friend, not a potential replacement. The likelihood of an AI system replacing web developers seems more likely. An AI that does benefit humanity does potentially maybe seem possible, but I truly believe that human input will always be needed for creating unique imagery and art, in my lifetime anyway.

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