Fear is a powerful thing, and it has a useful purpose in our survival. That said, it can best be utilized as a guide, and not a paralyzing emotion. So who is afraid of the potential of A.I. technology? Lots of very prominent folks in the tech industry are sounding alarms 🚨, but it may be surprising that Adobe, the developers of their own A.I. tools for creating images, is among them. Or rather, a number of Adobe’s employees who are working in that development space.
They fear that not only will a great many jobs be lost because of their technology, but that the jobs lost would mean less people (read: licenses or “seats” as they are called) would be needed, and thus Adobe won’t be able to maintain growth at their current levels. The very real ripple effects across the economy because of such potential disruption is nothing to be sneered at. And remember, we’re talking about real peoples lives. And yes, the argument that the automobile disrupted the entire horse & carriage industry (and all their ancillary businesses), while often cited, is not nearly an equivalent. It’s really hard to see how A.I. will create as many or more jobs as it replaces, and the heads of companies creating and employing the technology full-steam ahead are completely vague about what jobs will be created. And NO, “Prompt Engineer”, or “Promptist”, or “Prompt Designer” are not a thing!
All of this is very potentially what awaits the professional imaging industries, those areas of the creative marketplace where images are a commodity. But what of the fine-art image makers? Those whose work and careers are centered on galleries and museums and personal patrons and collectors? It may be interesting to see how those markets treat A.I. based images.Then again, a banana duct-tapped to a wall is considered “Art”, so who can say. You know where I stand, and I can (and do) point students and others to hundreds of incredible photographers both living and not who have created an immense body of compelling images from their own creativity with no “help” from some “other intelligence.” Where is the A.I. that could have created the works of Avedon, or Penn, or Jay Maisel even if those artists had not come before and created images from their own visions? All A.I. can apparently do today is learn/copy what has already been created and replicate what has come before, albeit in some amusing and weird combinations. Where is the “originating” creativity that comes from what I call “the inspired blank”?
Where is the Artificial Intelligence that can move through the real world and be inspired by a glint of light, a unique composition, or a bold confluence of colors, or dramatic light and shadows that sparks that “ah-ha” moment that causes our pulse to race and compels us to make an image that truly delights our eye and heart?
When it comes to creating the Experimental Prototype Creativity Of Today (and Tomorrow), be aware of what fears may be awakened in you, and use that to guide your way on your path, rather than give way to the paralyzing aspect of that emotion.
* And just as a caveat, ALL of the images in this post were created by the artist of singular intelligence not touched by A.I., and inspired by a unique way of seeing the world around me. 😉