Art is a Human Endeavor

It boggles the mind how there can be people defending A.I. art.

Art is a profoundly human endeavor, driven by thousands of years of perceptual, artistic, cultural and human gains, going all the way back to the first humans depicting animals on cave walls. Art is a celebration of the human soul, of the human imagination, of human aspirations, visions and dreams. It should not be ground down in a digital meat grinder and squirted out indiscriminately through the computer equivalent of a ketchup bottle.

Have artists ripped off other artists before? Sure – one artist ripping off one other artist, for which they can and should be held accountable. But A.I. is a machine, which cannot be held accountable, and which has the capacity to rip off millions of artists at once. In fact, A.I.s are ripping off art in its entirety, in a grand scale commoditization of several millennia of unique, individual, human artistic output. Delicate, sensitive, expressive, empathetic, thoughtful output. Art that, by definition, has provided a glimpse into the human soul, and allowed us as a species some much needed self-reflection through the centuries.

And we’re supposed to be OK with this, just on account of how “advanced” A.I. technology is…? Nope. Not buying it. You have to do better than this, tech advocates. Better at understanding ethics, better at understanding the law, better at understanding the harsh financial realities of millions of artists. Better at understanding what it means to be human – because A.I.s obviously ain’t it.

Too many of those of us who work in tech hide behind technology as some sort of universal alibi for all sorts of bad behavior. It isn’t. WE are the very people who need to grow a backbone and stand up in protest when technology is doing wrong. Technology, regardless of how advanced it is, is just a tool. It can be used for good, or for bad.

Tech evangelists who turn technology into a religion, where you cannot question the tech because of how advanced it is, make me sick to my stomach. If someone stabs somebody else with a fancy, high-tech scalpel, they’re still guilty of murder. The shiny, flawless perfection of the murder weapon is not an excuse.

Do better, for humanity’s sake.

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