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The new creative frontier – AI art is as real as it gets and it’s pushing new artistic boundaries around the globe

It’s no secret that technology has revolutionized the way we create and consume art. From digital animation to 3D printing, there are now more ways than ever for artists to express themselves. Sreeram Viswanath explores this burgeoning trend.

AI art is a relatively new field of study, but it has already been making waves in the world of creativity and adding new layers to how we approach artistic creativity. It has opened up a new world of possibilities for both creators and viewers alike.

AI-generated artwork can be abstract, realistic, or somewhere in between, creating visuals that are often unpredictable and completely unique. The fascinating world of AI-generated art is an exploding field and it is transforming the way we think about creativity. The evolution of artificial intelligence art, its potential applications, and how artists are already using it to create beautiful, unique works is to see history being made.

Harold Cohen

What is AI Art?

Artificial intelligence art is a new and exciting field of art that uses computers to create or simulate artistic objects or environments. AI art is created by algorithms that can learn and improve over time, making it a unique and ever-evolving medium for creativity. Art forms here could include traditional paintings and sculptures, architecture and music, and more modern forms of media such as digital art and video. AI art is often created with the help of neural networks, which are computer systems designed to simulate how the human brain works. This allows AI artists to create realistic and lifelike images and videos.

Some people believe that artificial intelligence art is a new and exciting way to create art, as it opens up fresh possibilities for what can actually be created. Others find it troubling, as it blurs the lines between human and machine creation. Whatever your opinion on artificial intelligence art, there is no denying that it is an interesting and growing field with the potential to create something stunning.

The earliest examples of AI art comes from the computer program AARON, which was created by artist, Harold Cohen in 1973. AARON is programmed to create abstract drawings based on a set of rules that Cohen himself devised.

A storied history

The history of AI art can be traced back to the early days of computer science when pioneers like Alan Turing and Marvin Minsky were laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence. In the 1950s and 1960s, AI researchers began using computers to generate images and paintings. These early efforts were often met with skepticism from the art world, but they laid the foundation for later artists who would use AI to create truly innovative and compelling works of art. One of the earliest examples of AI art comes from the computer program AARON, which was created by artist, Harold Cohen in 1973. AARON is programmed to create abstract drawings based on a set of rules that Cohen himself devised. Since its creation, AARON has produced thousands of drawings, which have even been exhibited in major museums around the world. These drawings were often described as being “lifelike” and “expressive”.

In the 1980s and 1990s, AI began to be used more extensively in creating art. Artists began to use AI to create three-dimensional models, sculptures, paintings, and drawings. It was this era that introduced another important figure in AI art: David Cope. Cope – author, composer, scientist, and former professor of music at the University of California, had used AI to generate new pieces of music that mimic the style of famous composers such as Bach and Mozart. Notably, his works explore how artificial intelligence can be used to create original works of art that retain the essence of human creation.

Fast forward to recent years, AI art has reached new heights with the development of deep learning algorithms. These algorithms have allowed artists to create realistic portraits, landscapes, and other images virtually indistinguishable from those created by humans. In some cases, AI-created artwork has even fetched high prices at auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

A Close-Up of One of Harold Cohen’s Painting Machines. Published in The AI Magazine 2017

We create tools that allow anyone—regardless of skill level—to experience the satisfaction, the therapy, the rush of creating incredible, unique art.” Not to make artists redundant.

How is it created?

The process of creating AI art is similar to traditional art. Here too, an artist begins with an idea or concept and then uses their tools to bring that idea to life. However, instead of using paintbrushes and canvas, AI artists use algorithms and code to generate their works of art.

Some AI artists use pre-existing programmes or code libraries to create artwork, while others write their own algorithms from scratch. The end result is often a digital image or animation that can be shared online or exhibited in a gallery setting.

While the process of creating AI art may differ from traditional art-making methods, the goal is still the same: to create something beautiful or thought-provoking that speaks to the human experience.

Astronaut Bridal Couture Week - Indian Artist Jayesh Sachdev shared some AI-generated visuals showing astronauts in bridal attire

The Different Types

There are many different types of artificial intelligence art. Some use machine learning algorithms to generate new art from scratch, while others use AI to interpret or enhance existing artwork. Some of the more popular types include:

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) — GANs are a type of neural network that can learn to generate realistic artificial images. They work by training two separate networks – a generator and a discriminator – against each other. The generator tries to create fake images that look realistic, while the discriminator tries to distinguish between real and fake images. As they train, the two networks get better at their respective tasks, and the generated images become more realistic.

Style transfer — involves adapting the style of one image to replicate it onto another image. This can be done using convolutional neural networks (CNNs), a type of neural network designed for computer vision tasks. CNNs can be trained to extract the style of an image and for it to be applied to another image. This can result in some interesting visual effects, such as turning a photo of a landscape into a painting in the style of Van Gogh or Picasso.

Evolutionary algorithms — algorithms that mimic the process of natural selection, resulting in images that evolve over time. The end result can be something completely unexpected and fascinating.

Ngochola, an imagined ancient African civilisation by Afegbua created with AI-image generators

Is it different?

Artificial Intelligence can create artworks that are realistic and photo-realistic, the ones that can be completely unique and one-of-a-kind.  The artwork can be produced faster than traditional methods, with a level of consistency in the quality that can reach unreal proportions. What is fascinating here is that AI Art is becoming increasingly popular for its ability to generate works that capture the human touch and emotion.

Yes, the ugly question of replacing human labour persists. But on a closer look, AI Art can also be a platform for emerging artists to showcase their work, especially when gallery spaces or commissions could be a dream too far-fetched for these skilled people. On the other hand, this method of producing can automate some of the tasks involved in creating a work of art so that artists can focus on other aspects of their work, such as the concept and composition.

AI Art also has the ability to generate new ideas and concepts that may not be quite possible with traditional methods of art creation. This means that AI Art can help push the boundaries of what is possible in art and can lead to the creation of truly innovative and original works that can find their place in record books as masterpieces in their own right.

So, here’s a medium that provides a multitude of benefits to help artists create better works of art faster and more efficiently.

AI Art also has the ability to generate new ideas and concepts that may not be quite possible with traditional methods of art creation. This means that AI Art can help push the boundaries of what is possible in art.

The Future

The future of AI art is shrouded in potential, but fraught with uncertainty. However, there are a number of factors that suggest that AI art will become increasingly prevalent and important in the coming years. Many experts in the field of artificial intelligence believe that AI will eventually surpass human intelligence, going on to create art that is more complex and nuanced than anything created by humans. It is becoming increasingly easy for artists to create AI-generated artwork. As algorithms and tools become more sophisticated and user-friendly, more and more artists are experimenting with AI in their work. This trend is likely to continue as AI technology becomes even more accessible.

AI-generated artwork can be used for creative expression, artistic production, and data analysis. Whether it’s through creating unique visualizations or providing new insights into how humans interpret images, we have numerous exciting possibilities in this growing field. As AI continues to evolve, so too will our understanding of artificial intelligence art and its potential uses in both practical and aesthetic contexts.

AI ART – Stats & Trends

  1. In 2015, a Google Researcher named Alexander Mordvinstev created the DeepDream Algorithm to study how complex computer neural systems learn visual concepts.

  2. Google unveiled its own version of AI-generated 3D art exhibit at the Cannes Lions Festival.

  3. Midjourney, an app created by researchers and experts from NASA and Apple repute, has acquired 4 million users since its launch in 2022.

  4. Jason Allen, the owner of a gaming company, used Midjourney for 80 hours to create Theatre D’opera Spatial, which won the blue ribbon in 2022.

  5. Dalle 2, an OPEN AI algorithm, will be forever known as the creator of the world’s first AI magazine cover.

  6. The Museum of Modern Art has a new exhibit called Refik Anadol: Unsupervised, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) created by Anadol to analyze 380,000 images of 180,000 art pieces from the museum’s collection. The AI generates a non-stop sequence of moving images on a 24 by 24 feet display. MoMA characterizes the piece as an unparalleled exploration of technology, creativity, and modern art.

  7. Several AI art creators, such as NewProfilePic and the currently trending Lensa, with its Magic Avatar function, have made it possible for individuals to transform their self-portraits into sophisticated pieces of art. 

  8. Several brands, including Heinz, have adopted the use of AI for various applications. For instance, Heinz requested AI to create a drawing of ketchup. BMW utilized artificial intelligence to locate road patterns in America that were tailored to their needs. Similarly, Facebook has employed AI to offer insights into the future.

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