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AI won’t make artists redundant – thanks to information theory (p.migdal.pl)
120 points by stared 36 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 260 comments

This entire article misses critical developments in the AI art space. Controlnet was just released last week. It allows for precise fine-tuning of the image with skeletal positions, depth maps, outline sketches, etc. It has been exceptionally received in the AI art community, because pure-text-prompting precisely runs into the issue described in the article. You can only convey so much information with text prompts.

That being said, artists in general still don't want to touch controlnet. Because despite controlnet solving their complaints about how the AI isn't controllable precisely, it doesn't solve the real problem, that drawing skills are massive devalued.

Artists will still exist, but most likely as hybrid 3d-modellers, AI modelers (Not full programmers, but able to fine-tune models with online guides and setups, can read basic python), and storytellers (like manga artists). It'll be a higher-pay, higher-prestige, higher-skill-requirement job than before. And all those artists who devoted their lives to draw better, find this to be an incredibly brutal adjustment.

PS: Despite how people made fun of 'proompters', or predicted that prompting would be automated away. The skill ceiling to good AI art has radically increased. There's now 10 different fine-tuned models you need to learn the basics of, each with different strengths. There's thousands of LORAs to insert into prompts to precisely reproduce a subject that the base model has no information on. There's 20 parameters to tune, each with different effects. There's VAEs which affect coloring and fine-details. Now there's controlnet, and you'd better learn blender to rig basic skeletons to feed it. This likely suggests the future of an AI-augmented economy: People become AI wranglers. Wordpress was supposed to make blogging easier, instead it spawned an industry of WP wranglers.

> that drawing skills are massive devalued.

This is the critical insight. Human artists having nothing to worry about. Human drawers do.

The decoupling of concept from execution is old news in most forms of art. Writing music and playing an instrument are two very different skills, and indeed any session musician will tell you that playing instruments well is not as valued as writing amazing music.

In fact we went through a similar thing in pop music in the 70’s and 80’s, with the brief moral panic over electronic music and people who “just push a button and don’t even know know to play their instrument.” Turns out nobody cares, as long as the music is good.

AI art decouples concept from execution for visual art. That’s all.

You're not taking into consideration how the actual artists actually feel. And, from the first hand - the feeling is horrible. Most artists love to draw, the process itself is incredibly satisfying. Just like a musician loves his instrument.

This is destroying them, stealing the joy from the thing they devoted decades of life. My wife is extremely depressed by this, to the point I think she'll need serious therapy. She still has most of her job, but yeah recent developments like ControlNet? Well, shit.

The human impact is real, but how is it different from how carriage drivers felt about the automobile, or how typists felt about the word processor?

I’ll submit that people who feel horrible have mistaken the commodity and value-add aspects of their jobs. AI does not make someone an artist, but nor does great hand-eye coordination and good brush technique. The actual art is concept; brushes and canvas and AI are tools.

I’m sorry that the decoupling of creation from performance is making people you care about feel bad, but really this is hundreds of years old news for most artists (musicians, architects, sculptors, etc).

People who enjoy drawing can still draw, just like people who enjoy playing instruments can still play instruments.

yes, and every time an artist shares their exiting new drawing to the world at large, a computer program instantly mapps it and gives it away for free before the artist can even make a living off it. AI is driving out the ability to afford to make and share original art. Those 'menial tasks', by the way, are often the bread and butter that allow artist to make a living and continue to create.The end result will be a great loss of creativity and culture. The great misconception is that AI learns art just like humans by devouring preexisting art. Humans learn skills to manipulate MATERIALS, to then create imagery. AI copies those hard earned skills without permission like a library of stolen blueprints. Sad that so many people don't (or don't want to understand the difference). If I make a beautiful dress and you have the skill to copy it, so be it. If I make a beautiful dress and you take the pattern pieces I created to make the dress (since you do not have the understanding nor skill to make the pattern for yourself, but must rely on my patternmaking) well that is stealing in my book.

Any loss of creativity and culture from unviably commercial art will be massively overshadowed by the gain of creativity and culture this technology brings to the fingertips of... literally everyone with Internet and a few bucks to spare.

Art shouldn't be the privilege of only those dedicating a lifetime to holding a brush.

You just need better social security.

Art is the privledge of those who make it. Artists come from all walks of life and express their creativity through whatever materials move them. The loss of manual skills to transform materials to create new art to 'teach' your 'learning tool' can only cumulate in stagnation. If 'art from a menu' is your idea of the new culture, then I am sad for you.

There's no loss of manual skills, only the transfer of time and energy from a now irrelevant historically necessary executive action to a higher space of creation. You wouldn't demand that a sculpture loses all meaning if the sculptee didn't excavate the block of marble from a cliff with their bare hands, nor that a graphics artist's work is invalid unless they place every pixel individually (though that's a specific subgenre, pixel art).

No clue what you mean by 'menu'. Artists have always chosen from a selection of available possibilities - colors of paint, size and shape of canvas, notes of music, words to write... A book is no less art just because the author had to pick from a menu of 26 letters. Nothing stops you from hacking and molding and mixing the results down to the finest details of every atom if you feel so inclined.

Maybe you can't envision any future for AI in art, but that only says something about you as an artist, or lack thereof.

Artists transform materials (whether they buy them at Hobby Lobby or hack them out of a cliff themselves). AI is a dictionary of preexisting imagery. Not bad in and of itself. My problem with it is that it takes from the manual labor of artists without which it could not exist and gives the fruits of that labour to others. The argument that all art has already been done is contradicted by the fact that certain artists can be recognized by their works. The hand of the artist is a discernable thing, an artist's bread and butter if you will.

So start giving artists bread and butter, and we can let their hands pass into the side of history. That's literally what automation has always been about - machines make our bread now. Spread the wealth.

> The human impact is real, but how is it different from how carriage drivers felt about the automobile, or how typists felt about the word processor?

Because driving a car or typing is entirely different from making art.

> People who enjoy drawing can still draw, just like people who enjoy playing instruments can still play instruments.

"You can just sit at home and play your little instrument, and not bother anyone, is that good for you?"

Your contempt for art and artists is just awful. It makes me despair for humanity.

99% of artists have never been able to make a living at it. If you love art, you have to do it for the love, not the monetary rewards. Welcome to how the rest of the world lives.

Eh, using your line of thought in a reductionist manner would simply lead to "it was a mistake to crawl down from the trees".

Humans change technology, technology changes humans. It is a tale older than civilization.

Also, many people would consider racing a car a form of art in itself. Same with riding horses that cars caused the general replacement of.

>The human impact is real, but how is it different from how carriage drivers felt about the automobile, or how typists felt about the word processor?

it's probably different in the way that the parent poster described, that artists found drawing an emotionally satisfying process whereas people typing probably didn't think setting styles in MS Word made them complete.

People who have never found their paid work so emotionally satisfying are worse off, not better. At least professional artists have gotten to spend some of their working lives that way.

there is nothing stopping them from doing the thing that "makes them complete" for leisure like most other people. AI art doesn't stop you from drawing, it might very well impact the commercial viability of it for sure but all that's lost is that.

Exactly. People play chess, even though computers can beat anyone these days. Or participate in track events even though cars and airplanes are vastly faster than a runner on foot.

Sorry if this comes off as harsh but, AI is not stopping anyone from drawing. The person looking at AI and then fretting about the future, and then not drawing is the person preventing the drawing from happening.

The same thing happened to bank tellers with the ATM. Jobs change and so do industries. Art's become more niche.

You're right. This is harsh. Some people make a living off art. Having valuable skills is good for people's self esteem. We're not replacing a factory line job, we're automating something that takes people 100hrs of classes and self practice to master and people have put themselves in debt to achieve.

But they can doodle in their spare time while they search for another job that isn't being phased out or spend most of their day crafting text prompts. Maybe go back to college take on some more debt.

I was under the impression that it has _always_ been hard to make a living as an artist.

I think this is just a truth people will have to accept. I used to make music and quickly realized I would have to dedicate 1000s of hours to it if I ever wanted to make it a career. This is simply because there were 1000s of other people that wanted to also make it a career.

Your lack of empathy for factory workers is hurting your case. They are real, and train for their jobs, and care about the families they provide for.

“technical disruption is hard on people” is a much more sympathetic position than “artists should be exempt because they’re special”.

We all face risks. We all have to adapt. We all have opportunities from adapting to the world rather than clinging to the past. Artists are no different from factory workers (or programmers, or bus drivers)

No a lack of empathy here. OP was saying there is little difference between automating art and automating a bank teller. For factory workers, I'm not saying its a job that requires no training but it doesn't requires years of college and 40/60k in debt. Clearly the ceiling for getting a decent paid job to raise a family without massive time/money/education investments is skyrocketing but I didn't point that out in my post so obviously I don't care.

Honestly this whole "adapt" thing is a load of nonsense parroted by people who aren't immediately under threat and have nothing to fear. Who is going to adapt at 30/40/50 years old? How about people who just graduated art school? Go right back into college? Please.

Edit: For the record, I care about anyone getting displaced but not all displacement is of equal level. If highly educated/skilled labor is now at risk this world isn't prepared for what's about to come.

Edit2: Removed my mischaracterization comment. Was wrong to assume bad faith in this response.

Maybe not as big as what's happening with AI, but I can see my parents constantly having to adapt to Microsoft's new redisign of Windows, or <software> having a new version, or laws changing. And that's for jobs considered relatively safe and boring (accounting).

As for art school, I've always heard that it was more fun than IT/computer science/accounting but way more dangerous, as in you weren't guaranteed a job at all. Not everyone has heard that, of course, not everyone has the time/skills/resources to plan their career. I don't really know what to say except that it sucks for them. On the other hand the lower bar of entry may bring way more art in general, like it did with digital art.

Well here's another thing, replacing horse carriages with cars was a major boon for civilization that sped up industrialization, led to more jobs (car builders, mechanics, drivers, gas station attendants, road builders, traffic lights and sign manufacturers), enabled shipping of goods cross country, increase tourism, and allow more flexibility in work and living area. It was worth the trade off. And cars were simpler back in the day whereas now they're all computerized. Cars were also expensive enough that they took a while to spread to the public.

We know why rote labor is being automated. Not just to squeeze as much money out as possible but to reduce failures and liability and increase productivity. If a factory pumps out more medicine to save more lives who can judge maybe automation was worth the tradeoff.

But art? Is this something civilization needed to try automating? It's not going to create more jobs than it replaces. It's not going to advance society to the next industrial level. It's not filling a demand because we're already flooded with more media than we could ever consume.

Stability is important for society and tossing golden apples around "because" and telling people to "adapt" to senseless chaos is awful. People will get squeezed out and career change is a bigger deal than adapting from paper to digital.

They're not guaranteed jobs so why make it harder to get them? So failed artists can compete for jobs with the factory, fast food and coal workers whose time is written on the wall? Even Social Workers need a degree and they get paid nothing.

All automation and credentialed professions reduce the pool of low barrier to entry jobs available and forces people into higher education brackets to stay competitive but, at least in the US, that comes with massive debt to pay off and you start at an entry level salary. There is no UBI or safety net short of your parent's basement. This is not long term sustainable.

You could argue that general AI will be worth the tradeoff in the end. That may be true but it seems the tech is outpacing social policy and we'll be scrambling to fix the issues instead of preparing for them.

Many people have hobbies that are low value skills and they have to work doing things outside their passion if they want to be higher value. This isn't unique to people who draw for a living it's just new to them and they'll have to adjust.

You’re not wrong, but when we replace a factory line job that person also goes through their own little hell, and they probably don’t even have the possibility of going back to college and taking more debt.

If anything, if it is true that AI will render lots of jobs obsolete (I have my doubts), at least there’s a chance this may allow some empathy to grow in those affected. Perhaps we finally get some meaningful social change.

I'm unclear how people got the impression that I'm okay with people's lives getting upended by automation. As I elaborated on elsewhere, my post was to say there was a difference in what is being automated, highly skilled labor with high time/money/education costs vs something you shouldn't require a degree to learn to do.

As you elaborated elsewhere:

> Honestly this whole "adapt" thing is a load of nonsense parroted by people who aren't immediately under threat and have nothing to fear. Who is going to adapt at 30/40/50 years old? How about people who just graduated art school? Go right back into college? Please.

I agree completely, I just don't think a degree being involved has anything to do with it. I assume most people work the best job they could land, so someone doing menial work and losing it due to automation is in about as much pain as someone facing the same situation on a very specialized role. If anything, the person with more education has a much better chance at getting another (perhaps lower paying) job.

I interpreted your first reply as conveying the message that it's not so bad if low skilled labor is automated, and it's a bigger problem if it's high skilled labor that is replaced. My apologies if I misunderstood you.

I understand why I might have come across that way but it wasn't my intention. I could have phrased it better. I agree that losing a job, particularly to automation is painful all around. My take is that low skilled labor getting automated is problematic because people need work and frankly I don't think everyone can/should go to college to make a living and I feel much automation is about margins. We need a strong middle class of homeowners and consumers and enough jobs that people can reasonably achieve it.

But automation has been coming for low skilled work for ages and the wisdom was that high skilled work was supposed to be safe(r). I think it is extraordinarily problematic if high skilled workers are forced to start competing for a diminishing pool of low skill jobs. Moving into another high skilled job would be best but without free/subsidized education puts undue burden on people and who is to say what work is safe 10yrs into the future now? Once high skilled work starts getting automated it means there is no protection and therefore no stability. How can we grow the middle class in such an environment?

This also means automation of low skilled work will accelerate. Order kiosks will be replaced by a specialized ChatGPT customer service version. Acts and sounds like a real person. Maybe it's got a floating head avatar while an automated process in the back assembles the food. One store manager and a guy who inspects the equipment across town.

Today it's the artists but tomorrow it could be IT workers. Companies are pyramids and the room at the top is finite. A healthy economy is not a pyramid.

I understand what you meant better now, and I agree with your position. In particular:

> Today it's the artists but tomorrow it could be IT workers. Companies are pyramids and the room at the top is finite. A healthy economy is not a pyramid.

This is why I said perhaps some meaningful social change may come out of this. If we assume automation will continue to replace jobs higher up the pyramid, at some point it seems the extremes in the range of possible outcomes is "more people competing for a diminishing pool of low skill jobs" on one side, and "we figured out a post-capitalistic (0) society in which how useful you are to the economy (this is basically your skills vs the demand for them) determines things like if you get the house with the nice view or not, but not whether you get access to good health care, can live in a place without the fear of getting evicted or of getting robbed/murdered when you go out, etc.

I know it's utopic but I rather be utopic than dystopic, I guess.

A great path towards a better (IMHO) arrangement would be to have very good unemployment benefits, including education/training for jobs that are in demand when you get downsized/automated away.

(0) I use post-capitalistic for lack of a better term, and to make it obvious I don't mean communism. I certainly don't mean that and see societies organized that way closer to dystopia than utopia. My point is, as you say, I believe a pyramid is not a good way to organize an economy (or a society for that matter).

Edit: formatting

Whenever I read a thread like this it makes me wonder how little most individuals know about the history that came before them.

I could take artist out of your statement and put blacksmith in and it would be difficult to tell if this was wrote in 1890.

Everyone seems to fight automation in an individual/industry battle rather at the society level. We keep measuring our worth based on work and when we finally run out of work we're going to have a problem.

"We keep measuring our worth based on work and when we finally run out of work we're going to have a problem."

Yeah, because work pays the bills. Guess what happens when you automate faster than social policy changes? More unemployed artists than blacksmiths. Also people resist change when it threatens their way of life. It's almost like the luddites resisting automation are saying slow down automation people "when we finally run out of work we're going to have a problem".

Unfortunately the luddites were not very effective at slowing down the technology. And with the modern police state being more aligned with wealth and corporate interests the general outlook is "the problem is coming at us full speed".

This is not an artist problem, this is an everyone problem that is unavoidable. Of course here in the US we're playing right versus left instead of a few trillionaires will own everything versus the starving huddled masses that this path seems to be leading to.

I agree.

One big difference is that art is typically a passion job, whereas most of the previously automated jobs weren't. Being able to draw for a living also takes way longer to learn than being a bank teller, or data entry etc, did.

Not that it matters, AI is only going to get better from here. I'd also feel depressed if I made my living doing digital art.


Good luck to your wife. This is fucking horrible. Being in an industry that Silicon Valley shitheads are ruining sucks.

It is definitely coming for the programmers too. They said coding would eat the world but I guess it ate itself...

It will only come for programmers when GAI is here, and that will change almost everything either way. I wouldn’t hold my breath for that though.

Obviously I don't get to tell your wife, or anyone else, how to feel about this. And there is a very real and very impactful thing in that, if you enjoy and make a living out of hand-drawn art, AI art will make it harder to make a living out of something you enjoy. There's no way around that, and I don't mean to deny that feeling. It always sucks when the circumstances around your craft and your source of income change.

But I don't think AI art can possibly take away from the beauty and enjoyment that can be found in drawing and making art. You mention how a musician loves playing their instrument. I can download a music edition software and summon a virtual orchestra out of my speakers in seconds. But does this take anything from the musician? Is their feeling any less true, their music any less meaningful to themselves and to those who listen? If I bring my laptop to a party and play Vivaldi's seasons on it, will that elicit the same reaction as if I play it in the living room's piano?

If language models eventually get good enough at programming that I'm out of a job, I won't derive any less enjoyment out of programming. I'll be a lot poorer, sure, but I will still enjoy the process of coming up with a way to express constraints in code, even if a machine can do it for me in the blink of an eye. Just like I find it relaxing to do the dishes myself when I'm anxious, even if I have a perfectly good dishwasher. Just like how people who enjoy solving Sudokus don't find it less fun just because automatic Sudoku solvers exist. The journey is the destination.

And for the record, I don't think human art will disappear because of AI art, or human programming will disappear because of AI programming. If there's one thing that's demonstrably true through the history of humanity, is that humans have a strong human-centric bias. The sooner we commodify something and remove the human element from it, the sooner we bring that human element back, now elevated to the status of luxury and catered to a niche.

Let me explain what I mean: I can buy black garlic in a plastic container for cheap, but I can also go to the weekend farmer market and pay three times as much for black garlic from a lady who lives up the mountains and can tell me the shape of the jar she fermented it in. IKEA makes perfectly good furniture that you can use to play board games for less than a hundred, but board game enthusiasts pay hundreds or thousands for custom furniture with nooks and bezels to stop the tokens from sliding out. Glass blowing as a form of art continues to exist, regardless of the availability of perfectly fine, industrially-made glass appliances. It's just in artisanal fairs in Venice, not in your living room.

And sure, you won't be able to make a living anymore out of cranking out uninspired corporate Memphis for bay-area startups, or drawing cartoon furries for Twitter randos on commission. And, in a way... thank fuck for that, right? The combinatorial space of drawing people with smooth curves in fantasy skin colors using technological appliances in collaborative settings can be exhausted by an AI, and you can actually focus on making art that breaks the mold, art that hasn't been made before, art that is meaningful to you. You can imbue art with meaning and use art to communicate with other humans, while the "art" that ticks out boxes and replaces placeholders in landing pages can be cranked out by AI.

Yes, it will be harder to make a living out of that, but I'm sure it won't be impossible. Computers have been able to generate Mondrian paintings since the 80s, and that hasn't made Mondrian paintings any less valuable. An AI may be able to produce the exact same drawing that you do, but it can't imbue human meaning in it.

I'll be a lot poorer, sure, but I will still enjoy the process of coming up with a way to express constraints in code

Good luck finding the time to enjoy your hobbies when being poorer.

You'll have much less time an energy for passions at that stage. You'll probably be flipping burgers at burger king, until that's automated too.

I'm not saying you won't be able to enjoy programming when poorer, but life is sure a lot tougher when you need to think about money constantly. When having a health problem means maybe not having the money for treatment etc.

It's weird because programming would probably be a lot less fulfilling when you can just talk to the computer and ask it to do any imaginable tasks without having to build anything. In comparison to actually putting paint on canvas vs asking an AI to generate an image, I think programming would be much more devalued.

On the other hand, if all programming was truly able to be created instantly by an AI, the productivity of our entire species would be increased to such a great degree, that being poor would be of little concern, because everything that you would want to buy would be instantly available for a fraction of the price it is today.

This is true. I think again, open source is an extremely important concept here. People need access to be able to stay at or ahead of the curve when it comes to being able to access technology that can help avoid poverty.

Also I kind of agree that in the short term this will suck for artists and illustrators but on the other hand, we recently went on a day trip with some friends and paid an artist to sketch us while we sit together and drink coffee, it was a great experience and I could’ve just used the “sketch” filter on my phone but there would be no “experience” or individuality. No memory that made it special.

What was interesting was, she had a huge queue of people paying about $100 an hour :) she was open for 9 hours.

Drawing furry porn commissions is meaningful to me. It's fun to sit around getting paid for drawing horny cartoons. It's a fucking blast, it feels like I am cheating at life to have this be part of my job. It's also easy and pays a nice hourly rate. And it's a human communication - I am helping someone express their feelings, desires, and fantasies. I am giving them permission to indulge in crazy fantasies and to feel beautiful, powerful, and desirable. Thank fuck that communication between myself and my clients can be automated away by a program! Thank fuck I'm freed from being a part of what binds a community of weirdos together!

Drawing Corporate Memphis bullshit for startups is a great way to transfer a big chunk of VC money from some Bay Area jerkoffs to an artist living somewhere much cheaper, where it can pay multiple months of their rent for not much work, and maybe even let them have some luxuries and/or financial cushions. Thank fuck that all that money can extend the startup's runway a tiny bit further now instead! Thank fuck those artists won't have to wrestle with the feelings that comes from getting paid better for a few hours of corporate work than for anything they've poured their passion into!

If you're regularly taking on client work, then you have places to play and experiment while still getting what you need to pay your bills, and even if you're just turning the crank to make another piece that fits in with everything else you've made, you're getting a tiny bit better at making art with every drawing you do, and you can bring that back to the time you spend on your crazy personal work. If you take some other job to make ends meet, your rate of progress slows way the hell down. I've seen it happen. Friends who used to draw a lot better than I did twenty years ago now just draw as a hobby, and draw just like they did back then; me and my friends who made it my job have spent the last twenty years drawing, and it shows in our work. Thank fuck that's endangered! Thank fuck we, too, might have a bunch of recurring gigs collapse out from under us! Thank fuck those of us who embrace becoming an AI wrangler for a corporation will be asked to do tons more stuff for the same pay, or less!

How do you propose the artists who are now blissfully freed from the work that pays their bills should pay the rent on their homes and studios, and to pay for their tools and materials, while still spending all their time making art that "breaks the mold, hasn't been made before, and is meaningful to the artist"? How do you propose they should find the time to hone the skills needed to do this? Because doing that is a lot of work.

> “And it's a human communication - I am helping someone express their feelings, desires, and fantasies. I am giving them permission to indulge in crazy fantasies and to feel beautiful, powerful, and desirable. Thank fuck that communication between myself and my clients can be automated away by a program!”

Serious question: are you sure that it can be? What you just described as the value proposition of your work is not the delivery of some pretty pixels. You’re selling a service, an experience, a human connection. You’re selling your artistic judgment and your ability to translate back and forth between client’s imperfectly expressed wishes and the visual design space. You’re selling work that is valuable to the buyer _because_ it was made by you.

I completely understand the fear that is gripping a lot of artists. But I’m as of yet unpersuaded by the predictions of doom and gloom. Art is human connection. Once the hype has worn off and we all get inured to generative art, I think we’ll find that people still value and pay for the real thing.

A final thought: algorithms can’t lay graphite on paper or put brushstrokes on canvas. You may consider offering your clients tangible artifacts that only a human can make.

The "thank fuck!" part is me sarcastically quoting the person I was replying to, who used those words to express delight that two major pillars of my income are at risk of being destroyed by AI, thus "freeing" me from all this work to do real art.

> How do you propose the artists who are now blissfully freed from the work that pays their bills should pay the rent on their homes and studios, and to pay for their tools and materials, while still spending all their time making art that “breaks the mold, hasn’t been made before, and is meaningful to the artist”?

They should connect with the people that aren’t artists and have a similar preference for non-AI art.

Or, they should learn the new tooling of the field, and use it as part of their mix of tooling.

The vast majority of would-be artists have never been able to afford to do it full-time and have needed “real” jobs; it would be astonishing for the narrow fortunate elite that have to think that they are somehow the one group of people in all of human history entitled to have that privilege without being concerned to adapting to change, even though that’s never even been the case in that same elite, which has had to deal with change (whether driven by technology or changing aesthetic preference for media, techniques, subjects, etc.) rather continuously, historically.

As to your question, UBI.

Artists are the ones now experiencing what the Luddites did. Smashing the looms didn't stop more looms from being built. Also, now the average person can afford fabric because of the technology.

Simply put as we move into a world where most needs can be provided by technology keeping up the 'winner take all' method of capitalism so many subscribe to isn't going to work.

Giving away (economic) power and "trusting" some benevolent actor without having some other kind of enforcing power is rarely a good idea. I hope military uses of new technologies will not used on ever growing powerless citizens. For example, the gains of the commonfolks the last two centuries were "strong" bcs their labour (strikes) or brute force were valuable arguments. Things are different now, and power has visibly shifted out the hand of common people

except that AI art is made off the backs of artists who created the art being fed into the AI database.It could not exist without their work.

Automatic looms probably wouldn't have been possible without the lessons learned by skilled weavers (not to mention the mechanics building them) either.

Capital formation is always and everywhere painful for labor (see: medieval enclosure, the American frontier/genocide, the Great Leap Forward, the triangle trade, and many others). This is obviously really really bad but so far we haven't devised a workable, lasting way to systemically stop the ownership class from doing it to us.

Automatic looms are programmed with designs by designers who are paid to make them. AI takes the designs from the designers who make them.

I think I understand the distinction you're making, but don't see why it matters. In both cases, skill and artistry are replicated by capital machinery using the same skill and artistry, but without paying for it (or paying for much less of it).

Automatic looms took jobs away so there was less work to be had. AI takes work that has been worked from the workers. They still do the job but AI takes it.

What are you doing to make UBI a reality?

How will we support ourselves until the extremely unlikely event that becomes a reality?

What are you doing to support artists through this shitty transition? Hint: Calling us "luddites" and vaguely waffling about the hoped-for death of capitalism is pretty much the opposite of supporting us.

Most artists already fail to earn any real money from their work, so this is not a future question.

Thank you for completely dismissing the existence of myself and the many freelance artists who do make enough money to pay their bills off their work, and our concerns. Well done.

That’s not a too generous reading of my comment..

All I’m saying that it is already a problem that should be better solved, so all the talented artists that as of now can’t sustain themselves from their work can also feed their families.

> You can imbue art with meaning and use art to communicate with other humans

Yes, but the moment you publish one piece the AIs will be able to crank variations on it at the push of button. So artists might think twice about publishing.

I for one have completely halted my plans for a website for my photography, painting and drawing. I'll be doing in person venues only. I may sell some merchandise but the pictures will be of the merchandise with the picture on it, ie. hard to copy.

"If I plant a seed and grow a plant, someone else could take the seeds and grow their own plant. Instead I'll burn the field to the ground."

I feel for your wife. It helps her any, many other careers and passions are not far behind. I foresee many intellectual tasks being automated in as little as three to five years.

A friend works in law, mostly handling workplace discrimination cases His job will be safe for now, but not those of his paralegals and staff who research case law, write drafts, and handle everyday communication with clients and the courts. Many of them have been in it for years and are passionate about helping victims who have been hurt by racism and homophobia. One of his most tenured employees is an elderly black man well past retirement age, who greatly enjoys that he can now help stop the sort of discrimination he experienced when he was young. None of these people will be able to meaningfully contribute to their passion in ten years.

"This is the critical insight. Human artists having nothing to worry about. Human drawers do."

The reason why amazing music is valued so much is because there's so much music that you have to be amazing to be noticed. Art has had that problem for a long time. Someone spends 100hrs of talent on a masterpiece and we say "meh, seen a thousand of that quality"

Learning theory is easier than applying it so becoming an artist is easier and now artists have more competition. Not advocating against AI art but it's obviously going to have a negative effect.

Do you think synthesizers and sequencers have had a negative effect on music?

In some ways, yes! At least for pop. I’m a huge fan of electronic music and synthesizers, but lowering the technical barrier to entry has resulted in some particularly bland pop music over the years making it to the top of the charts, for all the usual reasons of how music promotion is broken. I still think synths, sequencers, drum machines, and DAWs are a net plus to modern music, but there are of course negatives if you look for them.

Probably. I'm not qualified to weigh the pros/cons of it.

The internet is amazing but now a stranger from halfway across your world can drain your bank account. What doesn't have a negative effect?

Even human drawers might do all right, if they're selling physical drawings. People will still put hand-painted canvasses on their walls, just like people still enjoy an acoustic guitar concert, even if the guitarist isn't world-class. The authentic connection with a human being is where the art survives. If you're not an amazing artist, you can still be an authentic one.

But if you're just churning out commercial illustrations, then sure, an AI can do that now, or soon.

> Turns out nobody cares, as long as the music is good.

Actually, all those people who lost their professions they spent their lifetime working on, they care, rather a lot.

> indeed any session musician will tell you that playing instruments well is not as valued as writing amazing music.

Yes, in 2023 they say this, but I assure you when "session musician" was a common profession, that no one said this.

When I first started in music, if you wanted your piece of music, you had to pay instrumentalists to play it, and this was a valuable professional skill.

> Turns out nobody cares, as long as the music is good.

And the music is not good either.

When did everyone become so sociopathically detached from the welfare of others? It's just horrifying.

Hear of that group called the luddites?

This is just the latest chapter in the same book. The solution has almost never been stopping technology but distribution of the benefits to all members of the society. That is unless you want one entity to play winner take all in the end.

I'm not an artist, but my fiance is an animator. Generally, something similar exists in stock assets (photos, assets like vector files, other such things). We had a discussion on whether the existence of stock assets means drawing is no longer necessary to be an artist, and her answer was it still is something you should be able to do because knowing how to draw is the best way to learn the fundamentals of art in general, knowing how parts of a body work in a drawing or animation, and generally something is "good" vs. "bad," etc. However, as someone who isn't a fine artist, she doesn't have time to generate everything frame by frame, so she doesn't do it for every project she works on, but that knowledge is invaluable and one you can only obtain from knowing how to draw.

I think the best analogy I understand it is as is it is like assembly language or low level programming in general. I certainly do not have the time to program every piece of code I write in asm but having done projects in asm is invaluable as a coder[0], given how much it informs my mental model of how the code I write actually works. That understanding is beyond valuable and is something that puts you a rung above everyone else who just copies things from SO without knowing what they do. I think AI for devs, to the extent that it will evolve, will still be as such. People who primarily find it amazing today I find either 1) use it as a productivity boost for things that need a lot of boiler-plate[1], or 2) are SO-copy-pasters who are just amazed they have to think even less. A LOT of the "AI artist" community are the artist equivalent of the 2nd, honestly, and it's easy to detect AI art because it's generated by people who are not really artists, and in similar fashion either don't know the fundamentals or who only create "good" work by nearly directly copying other art pieces.

Also, to critique your analogy, what you guys are saying is along the lines of "given DAWs, why learn to play an instrument at all?" Except a plain look at any good composer will show they know how to play at least one instrument, even if they don't play all their music on that instrument, there is no doubt knowing how to play clearly makes you a better composer. I mean, can you even imagine a composer who cannot even play piano, or guitar? Sure a composer need not be a virtuoso concert pianist, but they should at the very least be able to play the chords of the very song they've composed. Nothing thus far teaches the human mind deep understanding of something more than doing that thing does. It is so clearly obvious in music and programming and the only reason people keep saying you can be an artist having never learned to draw is because such people simply do not understand art or composition at all.

[0] I'm not really a software developer but a computational scientist, and so I won't say I'm a developer, but still understanding of data structures, algorithms, discrete math in general, and yes asm is invaluable for me.

[1] As someone outside of the dev space, I don't know why you people don't just make better interfaces instead of juggling 9 yamls and 3 environments for every project, or just roll your own interface and reduce the boiler-plate yourself.

> Because despite controlnet solving their complaints about how the AI isn't controllable precisely, it doesn't solve the real problem, that drawing skills are massive devalued

At this point if I was an artist I'd probably be looking for a way to leverage my existing skills into AI art, because it seems like drawing skills will go the way of the horse and carriage.

I feel bad because this has happened so quickly. Previously it seems like there was a longer transition period.

This kind of transition has got me thinking the same about coding though. If AI programming does indeed take over, my programming skills will likely be massively devalued.

If you believe this is going to happen, how should you prepare for it? Start learning prompting now? Get involved with building these AIs? Etc.

I've tried to convince artists to transition to the AI-augmented future, since October. There's almost no successes. I've seen artist communities on multiple websites, in multiple languages. At first they tried to laugh at the AI. Now the AI has improved so radically so fast, they universally prefer to stick their head in the sand, and ban discussion of AI altogether, its all denial and rage.

On the more optimistic side. I see an extraordinary explosion in artistic innovation, just look at websites like CivitAI. The massive community all training subcomponents of the models for each other to share. The models rapidly improving every month just through fine-tuning and theoretical innovation, without stabilityAI's involvement (They are distracted by lawsuits now). There are many 3d-artists intensely experimenting with AI art, to say make AI-anime, which has illustration qualities on every frame (A previous impossibility due to the costs involved).

It seems with AI, it'll really cleave communities in two. The ones who eagerly embrace it, seem to enjoy it extraordinarily, and achieve quite a lot of popularity and success. But the rest just want to pretend it doesn't exist, waiting till employers realize that they are no longer needed.

Regarding programming, it doesn't appear that AI programming can replace humans. Programming is very similar to novel writing in terms of complexity for AIs. And AIs are still extremely terrible at long-form storytelling. The lesson is to aggressively use AI tools as much as possible, to understand the long-term weaknesses of AIs, and deliver your values in those areas as a human.

I've tried to convince artists to transition to the AI-augmented future, since October.

This comment is funny, "I've given the artists fair warning of 6 months that they're careers are over."

But the rest just want to pretend it doesn't exist, waiting till employers realize that they are no longer needed.

So when the employers fire the artists, who will replace them sorry? Will the C-level executives at my company be using DALL-E instead? How does it work? Would they just not hire a "creative assistant" who will probably hire other assistants ?

I've seen artist communities on multiple websites, in multiple languages. At first they tried to laugh at the AI. Now the AI has improved so radically so fast, they universally prefer to stick their head in the sand, and ban discussion of AI altogether, its all denial and rage.

I'd love to see these raging artist discussions? Can you link a few?

I'd also love to see a comparable thread on HN where some non-programmer rocks up, starts linking some forms he built using a low code tool to prove HN's skills are obsolete whilst modestly proposing that everyone here should forget about writing code and focus on business analysis and sales...

Better yet, when an out of work artist learns how they can use ChatGPT 4 to replace most of the coders on hacker news then tells them it's important to remember to just have fun coding and not to worry about their high paying jobs.

To rub it in, they might even call their project...an art project.

>who will replace them sorry?

A group of individuals who will use AI as an augmentation, even people with inferior drawing skills but able to get better results faster, a man with an excavator replaces several people with a shovel.

I'd love to see these raging artist discussions? Can you link a few?

I'm not OP but Twitter is full, you can start from @kortizart and find all kinds of account of people who are illustrators but now only rage against AI art.

I saw almost no "raging" though? Yeah obviously concerned about the future of her profession and some difficult questions asked about IP theft and copyright, but that's about it?

Edit: There is some raging in the replies but it's twitter and everyone is raging on there.

There was some raging about Netflix using "AI" to generate backgrounds for a cartoon, but ultimately everyone will lose, including Netflix if this really is very automated, Almost anyone will soon be able to create a Netflix so I'll just cancel my subscription and watch free generated content uploaded to Youtube I guess?

> Almost anyone will soon be able to create a Netflix so I'll just cancel my subscription and watch free generated content uploaded to Youtube I guess?

What’s wrong with that?

I pretty much only watch people doing their thing on YouTube and I’m entertained enough. I have a couple years of tv shows I haven’t gotten around to watching because of YouTube peeps keeping me interested.

Nothing but it's interesting that while Netflix is pushing forwards to replace their staff with AI generated content, they're also pushing closer to a world where a large part of their value add is obsolete.

I understand AI programming isn't there yet, but it seems likely that sometime in the next decade the same thing that's happening to artists will happen to programmers.

I've heard the analogy (I think I might have originally read it on HN) that software engineers in the 2020s are like Detroit auto workers in the 1950s - highly skilled, highly paid, and doomed. I hope this is wrong.

I don't think the market for highly technical "computer guys" is going to disappear, but the nature of the job is probably going to change dramatically. But then it wouldn't be the first time - hasn't the job already changed completely since, say, the 1980s? I can't imagine working in this job before the internet existed, but many did. Maybe in another decade or two I'll be saying that I can't remember what it was like to do this kind of work before AI was this good.

Already happened. It’s called product management and spec writing. The vast majority of professional programmers today are essentially sign painters working from spec.

> seems like drawing skills will go the way of the horse and carriage.

The exact same thing happened to technical drafters when CAD destroyed the entire (sub-)industry.

And to typesetting, for that matter[1].

Which is a pity in the human sense and the sense that both were forms of artistry and produced things of great beauty, both the product and the machines used to enable them, but they're simply not economical in the face of Solidworks and digital composition. And yet the replacement technologies have also enabled a lot more creativity and further advances. Objects with complex geometries are now possible to specify and manufacture, when they previously could not even be accurately drawn.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wapping_dispute, where not only could the unions not simply oppose the rising sea-level of technology, but their failure seriously damaged union credibility in general.

> At this point if I was an artist I'd probably be looking for a way to leverage my existing skills into AI art, because it seems like drawing skills will go the way of the horse and carriage

Drawing skills were made redundant for producing most types of high quality image before the motor car but people still pay for hand drawn items

Not sure AI lowering the skill barrier for and speeding up the generation of digital art is really going to change that

> my programming skills will likely be massively devalued

I see this in the context of the drawing vs. art analogy. Yes, your typing and maybe syntax skills will be devalued, but your higher level, creative programming skills are probably safe for a good long time yet.

Depends what you mean by 'good long time'. I think at this point it's worth acting under the assumption that programming will not be a well compensated career in 5-10 years, and either be prepared to switch to something else or try to make a lot of money in the near term.

Also, if I'm wrong then I get to be pleasantly surprised.

AI has yet to completely replace people in any industry. I fail to see how it would replace an industry that creates massive, complicated code bases in 10 years. Let alone 5. All roads seem to point to AI assisted work. Programmers will move “higher level”. That doesn’t mean they become poorly compensated.

Probably what the artists used to say.

The ones who said that, are fine. The skill ceiling for AI generation increases by the day, and having previous experience with art is a massive force multiplier.

Artists are still as well-compensated as they ever have been.

I take this as tongue in cheek because the great majority of artists are not making a good living just from selling their art.

>Programmers will move “higher level”. That doesn’t mean they become poorly compensated.

No, but it means there will probably be less of them, which in turn means most will either be fired or accept a pay cut.

It could also mean more software with the same amount of programmers. We are already talent constrained in the industry, so it’s clear we have some slack for extra productivity before people start losing their jobs, although who knows how an actual disruption would end.

I'm sure there will be some overlap, but prompting is sufficiently different from programming that I think a lot of skills will not translate.

They will, because you need to know to prompt for (as an example) "a real-time data-tracking and reporting application backed by a column database with logical replication fed by a task queue, having an isomorphic client cached across multiple regions via a CDN."

Without the engineering know-how, your "write me an app that displays data from this source in a dashboard" prompt might work, but it won't be robust and when it doesn't work you won't be able to figure out why.

Yeah, forget responding to prompts, I want to see A”I” respond to pages to troubleshoot its prompt-generated software.

“The machine stops” will seem optimistic in hindsight!

For those who haven't read E. M. Forster's fantastic short story, it's here: https://archive.org/details/e.-m.-forster-the-machine-stops_...

Especially combined with deep knowledge of the business domain you work in.

>If you believe this is going to happen, how should you prepare for it? Start learning prompting now? Get involved with building these AIs? Etc.

If you still want to work as someone who produces code - except your personal code factory has changed from brain and fingers to AI - then yeah, you should probably do both of those things.

Even if you spend 1-2 years and this AI hype doesn't work out, you still have those skills to go back to.

Frankly, this mainstream adoption by Google and Microsoft is, uh, not going great. So you can afford to observe for now, but AI advancements have been made very rapidly, so it's not wise to completely ignore it either.

> If you believe this is going to happen, how should you prepare for it? Start learning prompting now? Get involved with building these AIs? Etc.

Short of advocating for artists' unions...

Law is still going to govern anything AI creates, so anyone who develops a skillset in both art and law would be well-positioned to gatekeep as a copyright troll. This carves out a career for yourself and enacts revenge by making it a liability for employers to use AI to replace artists.

HR is the theocratic version of that, since law school isn't cheap. You can still gatekeep, but you'd be playing by more-arbitrary rules ("you can't use that AI because it incorporates images of Women Without Penises," etc.).

Security is pragmatic, but I worry about the long-term stability of it. Every time a breach is announced, there are no consequences, so why even pretend to need it?

I used to suggest pivoting to tangible works and experiences (architecture, sculpture, etc.), but those are easily displaced as well-- I would bet against it now.

Look at porn-- what started as a handful of performers in studios is now done by any college student with a webcam in their bedroom (next up to be replaced with AI-generated content).

For now, you can still add value as a sex worker by offering the GFE, but even that's about to be obsolete. You can get your fix of flirting from a chatbot (TTS or sexting) and 3D print a copy of anybody else's genitalia. Remote-controls, vibrators and fluid pumps add some life to it. And you don't even have to leave the house, which affords you privacy to pursue darker subjects without oversight and save you more time for repeat consumption.

Truly, what a wonderful world...

Go with the flow. AI will need humans to be effective, humans will need AI to remain competitive. But everyone will have the same base models, just like we all have the same web search and electricity. AI won't be a competitive advantage, it will be a basic requirement.

Do you believe the number and complexity of software applications will decrease in the next 10 years because of AI, or that it will spawn whole new ecosystems of software and new types of jobs? I believe the second is more reasonable, we will have higher expectations from software in 2033 than in 2023. The easier AI makes it, the more difficult we make the tasks.

Human desires fill the available space like air, AI exponential is slower than our entitlement. So we still need to work.

> If you believe this is going to happen

I believe this is going to happen (and is happening right now, in front of us) not just for programmers but for any role that can be automated.

> How should you prepare for it?

Get equity. I mean ownership stake. If you don't have a legal/financial claim on the output of the machine then you're about to be part of the worthless surplus from the POV of the system.

> Start learning prompting now?

No, the machines will do that well enough in a minute or two.

> Get involved with building these AIs?

No, the machines will do that well enough in a minute or two too.

- - - -

Artificial Intelligence destroys scarcity, which is the fundamental basis of our societies and economies.

Think about it: scarcity is the very problem that societies and economies evolved to solve in the first place.

Now science and capitalism have delivered technology and wealth. There is enough to go around if we just worked out the logistics, and computers can do that for us in a matter of moments. In other words, the "World Game" is not hard! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Game we just have to get over our hangups.

Now here's where it gets really interesting: ChatGPT et. al. don't have glands, they don't have emotional trauma, no PTSD from being humans-on-Earth for generations, etc. We can program them to be sane and perhaps even wise.

We can also attach empirical feedback devices to them, make them scientists...

So we have physical abundance and benevolent, sane, empirically-grounded AI advisors, how much longer will it take to sort things out? I think we could be looking at the start of a Golden Age?

Yeah this post seems like it will not stand the rest of time.

The fundamental conceptual shift is the emergent behaviors displayed by these models. And that is highly unforeseeable.

We’re not working with machines that do what they’re built to do. They’re doing more. And every day we discover something new they’re capable of doing.

Making any sort of statement about the limits of this technology is going to be shortsighted.

The opposite is also true. People overestimate what is possible and underestimate how much more effort and time is required to start replacing industries.

> Artists will still exist, but most likely as hybrid 3d-modellers, AI modelers (Not full programmers, but able to fine-tune models with online guides and setups, can read basic python)

Why should artists have to learn fucking Python!? There are so few jobs open to people who don't want to "learn to code", this was one of the last, and that's going too.

> This likely suggests the future of an AI-augmented economy: People become AI wranglers.

So we don't get to create ourselves anymore. No drawing, no making music, no programming even. We just give prompts to AI programs. Which means we are worthless, because any bozo can do this.

I hate this timeline so much. It's like all the worst and most mediocre parts from every SF future, with an extra dose of stupidity and greed on top.

(And I'm a computer programmer.)

I wouldn't worry too much. We've pushed the biosphere past the point of repair. This "utopia" they dream of won't have a chance to come to fruition before we all go down in flames.

And given this dichotomy as choice, I would choose the flames too.

At the end of the day, we are not going to see AI art in the Guggenheim, or any of those other museums where the finest art in the world resides. AI art is and will always be a novelty. Real art comes from the human spirit. It is not about technical execution, and not just about painting a pretty picture. In actual art we want to see humanity, something that AI will never, ever truly know about.

Seems like a lot of people are missing this point, and it seems like a lot of people have a chip on their shoulder about being unable to create art, and believing they can express the deep recesses of their feelings and psyche and everything else that makes us human by proxy through AI, and thus completely missing the point of creating art in the first place.

These are great platitudes, and as a fellow human I like the idea that only we can create "real" art, but I don't know how to justify that idea. I have no chip on my shoulder about art, it's not part of my identity at all. Computer programming is, though, and I fully expect it to affect my industry in the next decade.

The current fine art market is extremely unmeritorious so I agree that AI art will never make it to the Guggenheim. That isn't a good metric since the human curators will never allow it to happen. The metric will be the industry. Will ai start composing scores for movies? Promotional posters? Art that's sold outside of expensive curated galleries (etsy, ect)?

It's possible that humans will keep their stranglehold on these and I hope that's the case... But I wouldn't bet on it.

I don't know if this is a backhanded comment or not, and I also don't know how much modern fine art you have actually seen IRL, but there are people doing some pretty fascinating things that an AI could not really do, such as "leave a physical painting out in harsh weather for several months, or until you think it's "done", as a treatment." Yeah you can mimic the idea but all you get in the end is a JPG or whatever.

Please look up the definition of platitude. It's not very nice.

I'm not particularly art savvy but I live in a major city and like museums. I have definitely seen modern pieces that I like and are actually though provoking so I'm not trying to say that all modern art is crap (although some of it almost has to be money laundering, but that's another matter)

    Yeah you can mimic the idea but all you get in the end is a JPG or whatever.
Sure, image generation software will never be able to go through the steps that humans go through to do something in physical space. It doesn't even have to be elaborate weathering, Stable Diffusion will never actually stroke a brush. Especially in the infancy of this tech it is extremely constrained to digital representation and simple prints. Even if stuck in its current state I wouldn't consider it novelty-only, but more physically involved means of production will likely become as thing as billions get invested into the tech.

    Please look up the definition of platitude. It's not very nice. 
I double checked the definition and it means what I meant to convey. I don't think it's particularly profound to say (especially without much support) that computers can never create "real" art and will always be bound to the realm of novelty. If you want to define art as something only humans create (and assert that the human involvement isn't sufficient to bring in the "human spirit") then that's a term you can use, it just doesn't mean much... Statements like these are not unusual when machines begin encroaching on some aspect of human life.

Also FYI its not very nice to psychoanalyze why people disagree with you, especially when its a petty reason.

You seem to be playing a game of chess here that I am not interested in playing, but there really isn't anything you've said that is particularly convincing. I'm open to change my tune. Maybe prompting actually is exactly the same as writing a poem for the woman you love, or writing a song after your mother has died. Someday, after billions of dollars are invested in tech, these things will be equal.

I think you've spent too much time smelling and looking at farts (read: fine arts) if you think there's something particularly fascinating about leaving a painting outdoors.

As opposed to a computer creating pixels on a screen? That's particularly fascinating? Gotcha

I think even without AI art we are well past the point of art in famous galleries making sense. Isn't most of this just thinly veiled money laundering anyway?

I imagine we WILL see AI art in a famous gallery for exactly this reason. Except it will be lauded for the imagination of the creator and the tweaks they made, not their drawing ability.

That is an extremely cynical point of view in my opinion

> This likely suggests the future of an AI augmented economy: People become AI wranglers. Wordpress was supposed to make blogging easier, instead it spawned an industry of WP wranglers.

Good counter for "AI will steal our jobs". When competition starts to use AI+human, you got to level up. And since everyone has the same base AIs, the differentiating factor is still human.

thanks was looking for something like this.

SD has been great at giving lots of new ideas but frustratingly difficult/impossible to iterate on anything.

Artist here: Article is an idealistic take not based in reality- the Jeff Koons of the world will be safe with their 30 million balloon art sales.

Everyone else is going to be rekt.

All of the work my artist friends do is for businesses- businesses trying to make the biggest profit. Ai art generators are faster/cheaper/more flexible. The artists are done and now it's all about the prompt engineers that don't need to be artists to excel.

Market will decide what to pay "artists" but seems like it will be a race to the bottom. Artist types I know are preparing accordingly.

But you should realize that any artist learning prompt engineering should be a better AI-artist than a non-artist learning prompt engineering. After all, art is not jsut about technique but also creativity, composition, theme etc., right? And an artist can furthermore touch up the AI generated product manually if necessary.

Yep. I spent a good hour trying to generate some stuff with DALLE. I then asked a friend that works in media and he was able to give me ideas for a prompt that worked almost immediately.

AI art is fun and _sometimes_ it can replace some things but at the end of the day, I don't really want to mess around prompting over and over. If I pay an artist $100 for something, I couldn't care less how they make it. I feel like AI can be another tool. I'll even make a bold prediction. In 10 years, we will still have "Graphic designers" and "digital artists" the ceiling will just be raised similar to how it was when photoshop became more commonplace.

But that skill you're describing here is equally trainable and it probably will be in the near future, such that a specialized Artist AI will immediately guess what you're after, and if not, present you several iterations. That Artist AI, in turn, will become a subset of a Market AI which will have access to a lot of data about what makes people tick, testing and deploying market strategies accordingly. That Market AI, in turn, will be a subset of... you know where I'm going. All of this felt like Sci-Fi a while ago, but now you can almost taste it.

Nothing in the information space will be left untouched by the ML/AI revolution. I was a bit skeptical last years, but seeing this space evolve in the last 2-3 years left no question about it.

The only thing stopping this a Butlerian Jihad, probably. Actually, it probably can't be stopped.

Humanity as a whole seriously needs to start considering alternate incomes and ways to support people existing. We need to shift our perspective from the human individual as a value-producing asset to a right-to-exist-and-experiment-reality entity.

All of this is really awesome, but for me it's like admiring the exquisite beauty and calm of the blue sky in the center of a hurricane.

I'm still trying to adjust: am I too fatalistic or people are clearly ignoring of the tectonic shift that's happening?

sure. but you need 1 prompt engineer producing work equivalent to 100s of artists*artist_hours

not to mention, prompt engineering doesn't seem like a particularly technical job either

That is true. I mean, I'm sure this will negatively effect quite a few people... I just don't see it replacing the majority of artists anytime soon.

What leads you to believe those problems won't be solved in the next few years? What stops me from having ChatGPT provide feedback on my prompts to make them more artistic? Maybe I just pay some artist to touch my stuff up for me if they're desperate for work or maybe the output gets good enough that I don't.

Id say these tasks (coming up with a good artiatic theme for a company) when considered in the full limit of their potential complexity are AGI

Sounds like a job for us pot smoking slackers who studied art history to me.

Out of interest, how are they preparing accordingly? It's not remotely my own field but I'm starting to wonder how I should be guiding my children who have tallent for art, in light of all this.

Draw comics, or really manga in particular. The only real challenge in AI art, that won't be solved any time soon, is storytelling: chaining multiple panels together for coherent stories. Even ChatGPT cannot tell a coherent story longer than 2 paragraphs. Being able to write a long story well, requires understanding world modelling, human motivations , etc, AGI tier abilities.

Also, expose them to AI-art. If they lose interest in art after seeing AI art, that means they were never meant to be artists, they merely like to draw, not to make art. And drawing alone is not really economically useful anymore.

There's no money in comics, it's like saying "be a rock star".

Most comic book artists are (in financial terms) absolute failures, regardless of talent.

Surely for art, the route to replicable success is graphic design, animation, computer game art, etc.? Something the dumb ML AIs you see today probably won't ever be able to replace, you'd need some sort of AI capable of creation to do it.

"There's no money in comics, it's like saying "be a rock star"."

There's no money in western comics.

Successful manga artists regularly earn millions. Simply put, western comics got left far behind in storytelling techniques, creative ideas, because it got stuck in superhero #12831.

Even in the US, the vast majority of top selling 'graphic novels' are mangas, not comics.

> Successful manga artists regularly earn millions

"Successful" is doing a lot of heavy lifting here.

Most Mangaka make less than minimum wage.

What on earth's name make you think comics are safe?

It's ChatPGT mixed with DALL-E no? I mean if you believe so strongly like everyone else that the job of the artist is done for, why would a comic artist be safe at all ?

> they merely like to draw, not to make art

My take is that computers don't make art at all, they are incapable of doing so. They can produce content at astonishing rates though. But content is not artwork.

You can maybe assemble content into artwork, but that's up to the person doing it. Are they an artist, doing work to elevate it into art? Or are they a fraud, who is just taking content the computer gives them and calling it art.

Some people call those frauds "prompters"

Anyways, if you enjoy drawing you are an artist. The mechanical process of creating is way more important to the artistic process than the end result.

Unless you only view art as a commercial output.

Presumably a skilled artist using SD can produce comics far faster than an artist on their own can? Or is it hard to get the model to draw consistent characters etc.

I was working on a comic two weeks after SD came out. There were lots of problems. I've watched all of them disappear. The only one remaining is wardrobe consistency.

Yes, far far faster, in full colour too. Traditionally, manga artists took photos and applied filters on them, to serve as the background for the manga panels. Its just that time consuming to draw things in detail, that they didn't bother. AI is like this, but 100x more radical productivity boost. It will be a huge boon for manga artists, who traditionally had to work regular 80 hour weeks, even with assistants. Their core skillset is storytelling, panelling, not drawing.

The 'consistent character' issue is already solved by LORAs, just draw 15 images of the character in different poses, feed it to the AI, and it outputs a 300MB model that you can add-on to your prompt to reliably reproduce any character.

Don’t worry, soon AI will be a wonderful story teller for adults and children alike <smiling face with smiling eyes emoji>.

AI is shifting the balance of power from technical ability and quality of tools to creativity/vision (and ability to market). The only "art" job left is going to be something akin to an art director.

Expose your children to a wide variety of art, books, music, food, travel and so forth. Teach them why (aesthetically) good things are good and bad things are bad. Also, encourage them to create stuff for an audience so they learn how to present things, gauge people's tastes and become comfortable with failure young.

The harsh reality as far as I can tell is that the prospect of making a living as an artist, which was already slim if we are being honest, has now shrunk to near zero.

They should be learning about the AI field in order to create their art. That might be the only skill worth money when they are older.

Focusing on learning how to leverage these new tools to produce their own works faster/better/cheaper- focusing on their original ideas/designs/models- coming up with strategies to protect their source art from being used in other people stable diffusion models- learning about/utilizing nft tech to find new pathways to monetize their art-

In the end though its going to be all about original ideas imo- so creatives that don't have original IP really need to get on that and develop it- the new tools will allow anyone to create anything in realtime- people will be frozen by the prompt if they don't have original ideas/concepts/characters/worlds etc-

The temptation for those without original ideas will be to leverage chatGpt etc for "ideas" but humans are not required on that path-

So for your children- ignore the tools/technicalities and focus on ideas- original ideas-

And older artists said the same about computer art, things like :" this new artists do not know to mix paints or prepare a canvas". Artists can adapt and use this new tools and do their job faster, you might have to sell a logo cheaper but you might be able to make them 20 times faster.

There will just be people who are employed to wield these tools, select, curate and combine these images into whoever commissioned the work.

I don't know who all these tools are really aimed at? As a software engineer, I'd still prefer to pay someone to mess with any type of "art" or design while I focus on other things.

I mean even if I had an AI program that I could use to code, to do SRE, to do images, to do accounting etc, I still think someone would need to be in charge or making these things happen, or else I'd just be busy prompting machines all day, which sounds mad fatiguing and boring.

I think the real question is what does "making these things happen" realistically pay, pennies on the hour to sit in front of a screen and maybe elevate that to the 1/10,000 person who has to come hit a few keys to get the station running again?

How much do you actually pay an artist now? I've payed for graphical artists before, it wasn't all that expensive and I could've probably done it myself, they could've just been stealing someones work already, but it was just easier to pay someone to be "responsible" for it. Which is often what I'm paying for.

On the other hand, where was the backstop previously? Companies could have saved money on art by hiring unpaid college interns or teams from where the median wage is less than a few hundred dollars a month. Evidently there was some reason to favor hiring actual artists versus the cheapest possible person who can draw. Maybe that reason hasn’t died out yet.

My point is that unique digital art won't be replaced even by a hypothetical perfect AI image generator.

When it comes to the digital art workforce - it is likely to be strongly affected.

> Others might fall into a gap of “nice skills, but not yet that offer a business advantage”. Furthermore, the lower entry barrier to create any art is likely to result in the average quality going down - not unlike that plastic made manufacturing cheaper, but also less durable.

And you are right that, sadly, in many kinds of digital art, it will be a race to the bottom.

There's a mistaken assumption here. The author seems to believe that these generators operate on the basis of random chance, hence a 200x200 pixel image in RGB has a possibility space of 10^300000 images.

...But an overwhelming majority of those images are random noise, and are effectively homogeneous and interchangeable. They're perfectly identical.

Like human artists, the image generators are (very strongly) biased to create "structured" images, which are derivative of existing artistic works or natural representations in the form of photographs. In principle, there's no a priori qualitative difference between the AIs and humans in this respect -- no human art is created de novo, but is always a continuation of, or a reaction to, existing forms.

Further, there's no reason to believe that (a) the size of the possibility space matters in a quantitative sense, and (b) that AIs will never be as capable of qualitative "originality" -- in conception, composition, or subject matter representation -- as a human artist would be.

I put my caveats on indistinguishable images. And three is the challange - to make a better estimation of an effective number of distinguishable images.

> (b) that AIs will never be as capable of qualitative "originality" -- in conception, composition, or subject matter representation -- as a human artist would be.

Sure, AI already creates original things. The point is that questions like "create a drawing that presents friendship" can be approached from many, many different, and what is crucial - subjective, ways.

They are not worried about making all artists redundant, they are worried about making most artist redundant.

Instead of needing to pay for mediocre artist to get mediocre art that's good enough for a purpose, now the AI taught on the good artist (all subjective of course) can produce similarly mediocre art that's fit for purpose.

It's equivalent to replacing all of the simple CRUD web devs with AI that does good enough job

Interestingly, it might be easier to replace mid-skill artists than mid-skill developers (not to say both won't happen over time). The key difference is that when generating art, you can say "Make A in-the-style B.", get what you want, and move on.

Meanwhile, you have to live with the consequences of AI generated code.

Case in point: My wife was trying to build a system to generate POs per vendor from a series of workorders a couple weeks ago. She was using AirTable, which vastly simplifies the creation and use of relational databases. Given a lack of database experience, the structure that she made was misaligned with what she actually needed (and completely denormalized). Putting it into production would have caused major problems over time.

This made me realize that writing code is only one of the barriers to entry in software. Eliminating this barrier effectively gives everyone in the world access to a small team of incredibly junior developers who have no idea what they're doing.

Just like mismanaged DIY home projects create more work for professional contractors, I think AI might -oddly enough- create more positions for mid-tier and higher developers.

It most definitely is for simple reason - non interactivity. Image doesn't need to be told what clicking this button does or how that pop up menu needs to animate or million other interactions.

> Just like mismanaged DIY home projects create more work for professional contractors, I think AI might -oddly enough- create more positions for mid-tier and higher developers.

It might also create a lot of jobs for "AI crafters" - know enough about it to craft good prompts about what client wants and have enough graphic editing knowledge to tweak and mix AI input to create what is needed. It probably will also empower "one man shops" dealing in small customized websites for customers, replacing or augmenting what now stock images are used for.

Reading the comments it seems that everyone assumes that art is always and only presented as pixels on a screen. Whereas most of the art in my house is hand painted on canvas and wood, hand embroidered, hand knitted, hand woven, hand thrown and decorated pottery. One picture was hammered out of a sheet of pewter.

One of my favourite places is the Henie-Onstadt Art Centre sculpture park, another is Vigelands Anlegg in Oslo, no pixels in either place.

So why does everyone seem to think that art is only flat, lit, pixels on a flat surface?

I think the exact same thing, obviously because we're on hacker news where most people seem to be hoping they can spend their days prompting machines for art so they can replace "artists" and save some money.

It's actually funny when I think about it because most people wouldn't know what image to use and how to use it even when it was generated for them, there's even a skill in selecting art.

You could argue enough good photos have already been taken that all practically all photographers should have already been made redundant since the year 2000, we still have photographers.

I think if people are ignoring AI's limitations, it's more out of fear that programming is next than having something to gain. I doubt having the money/labour that's currently used creating art for something else would help me in a noticeable way:

-the money would just trickle up

-not that much money is spent on it anyway

-world becomes more depressing, nothing you look at had any effort put into it, no-one had to believe in an advert on any level, instead it's the output of a machine optimised to trick you (as one of a shrinking number of people with any agency) to spend and therefore make the machine stronger.

-artists/potential future artists decide to learn to code instead?

That reminds me of Ira Glass' quote about taste: artists know it when they see it.

Or why it's a mystery some folks prefer tabs vs spaces, or recoil from what they consider shoddy code.

Somewhere in the discipline of point, line, and perspective, in the composition of shapes and their organization, is the artifact of amalgamated neurons, to be observed by yet another consciousness.

I wonder if AI art will just help generate more gacha games. And one may wonder, of the limited time left on this planet, what really could we spend it on?

The library of every book contains no meaningful work in the search. The space of all generated art is oblivion.

Because that's what 99% of the people employed for their artistic skills are doing.

I doubt AI will have much effect on the tiny number of people who can make a living by producing art to hang up in your house. It's the people doing illustrations for magazines/websites/packaging/etc. who are fucked in the medium/long term.

People will 100% start hanging AI art on their walls. The killer feature is being to customize the artwork to exactly what you want. It's just a question of time and not a lot of it either.

If people are going to hang (cheap) AI art on their walls, they never were going to pay a few hundred (or thousand) dollars for something that someone would consider art from an artist. They could have gone to the local poster store and purchased a random poster for $15 and tacked that to the wall (and there's nothing wrong with that).

Spending more than the cost of materials and you're not shopping for AI produced images anymore.

To be fair, I once paid an artist in Fiverr to create a portrait of my wife and I as Futurama characters. It’s on our wall.

I can now do the same using Dreambooth models of us. Right now that’s still too technical for most people but I’m sure plenty of people are working on apps to change that.

The question to consider is "how much do you value the craft that went into the image?" Would you still have hung it on the wall if it was created using img2img?

And to that end, those are the artists that should be concerned about AI.

If, it's an image that you sat for at a tourist attraction - then it's also the craft (and the memories associated with that) which are valued. No one is going to pay a person who takes a photograph at Pier 39 and then prints out a Futurama-ified version of that and sells it to you for $20. Those artists have something where the craft is valued.

Similarly, the spray paint artists - its the craft that is valued (I dabbled creating those scenes in povray).

But my photograph of El Capitan? I'm not worried that someone will have DALL-E generate an image and then hang that on the wall because I never would have had that sale to begin with - they're not interested in my interpretation of the scene and the "this is a real place that you could potentially stand at and see the same things that I saw" https://shagie.smugmug.com/keyword/El%20Capitan/ - the reason for those is that they are a real place.

The Futurama characters? That's not a sale that the animators at Rough Draft Studios would have ever gotten. Everyone else is doing detractive works be it done by a human or AI - it doesn't really matter.

Now, if you ordered that from an animator who did original Futurama work - then the associated craft would likely be valued a bit more. You might ask that it be signed by the artist too and 50 years from now, on antiques roadshow your kids or grand kids will ask about it and it would be worth more than the paper and long forgotten memories.

Otoh whole industries exist because customers prefer to be told what they want versus the mental load of figuring out that themselves. Are you really going to sit there and scratch your head coming up with some decent prompts for some wall art you don’t hate? How long is that exercise going to take before you give up and move on to other things?

>So why does everyone seem to think that art is only flat, lit, pixels on a flat surface?

Everyone doesn't think that. It just happens that digital art, both as a medium and as an industry, is the only kind of art relevant to conversations about AI, because that is the medium of artwork that AI generates, and that is the industry that is being disrupted by it.

Yes, that is interesting: so digital artists can go back to traditional methods. Like a game where you scan in crayon textures. It's a unique look. More handcrafted.

Maybe AI will bring about a sea change in how we express these traditional works in the digital context.

It's true we miss a huge chunk of art by just considering pixels. Museums are dedicated to the idea that art and expression are intertwined, and that context--both past and present--brings a unique experience to the observer.

Curators certainly aren't generating those longform descriptions next to art pieces. Someone had to think deeply, analyze, and type that out.

except that I can take an AI generated image and burn it into wood or acid etch on metal with a CNC machine, or 3d print it.

Then youd be an artist at that point.

AI will make many, but not all, artists redundant.

As usual, the lower skill/value work will be automatized sooner. Platforms like fiverr will probably suffer a lot, but so will many "for hire" artists. High value work will remain to be exclusive for humans.

Many high value artists (programmers ...) started as low value and worked themselves up. But if the low value segment is eaten up by AI then the path will be destroyed as well. I wonder if this will make classical education more valuable (after graduation you're starting as high value producer) and further increase class division.

I don't think education has anything to do with this. AI tools are pretty easily accessible to anyone and you don't need a "classical education" to wield them.

If anything, I think the necessity of education is going to be weakened further and more quickly in the next decade.

I think they point they were making was that a job as a lower-skill artist was a potential on-ramp to a job as higher-skill artist.

It isn’t obvious at this point what the skill ceiling is, on using AI tools, since they’ve only been around for a couple months.

What a nice sounding dystopian future you've described there.

What's dystopian about it?

Having people not really needing education and just becoming dumb consumers of AI products? Sounds like a boring future.

We already have too many people going to university. Less people getting degrees would be a net positive. Knowledge and education is still important, but credentialed education is reducing in value.

Not sure why people using AI tools would mean they're "dumb consumers". Are we "dumb consumers" of IDEs?

Credentials mattering less and more AI tools sounds like a very interesting future to me.

If anything, I think the necessity of education is going to be weakened further and more quickly in the next decade.

You used the term "education" not "degrees".

In this context "classical education" referred to degrees, and I shortened that to "education". I thought it was obvious from context that by "education" I meant degrees.

> I wonder if this will make classical education more valuable (after graduation you're starting as high value producer)

I haven't noticed a correlation between formal education and the people that I would describe as "high value producers". That could be a bias because the median person without a degree doesn't get hired at all, but if we're removing mid-tier and below devs from the work pool, that's going to eliminate most of the people I know with CS or SE degrees.

> I haven't noticed a correlation between formal education and the people that I would describe as "high value producers".

I agree, but I would argue that people without formal education have to usually work their way up.

Basically, if I'm a high school drop out, then I'm very unlikely to land a job at FAANG right away. Quite possibly I will have to start in some low value job to get some credibility. But if AI eats most of these jobs, then it also removes the possibility for the high school drop outs to move up.

Only society can make artists redundant. If people want to get their "art" by digitally rehashing what real artists did in the past then we don't need artists.

How exactly things will play out is not clear: photography did not eliminate painting. Algorithms will not eliminate more "manual" creative work. Some new genres might emerge.

Ultimately what is a more important problem is that the commercialization of artistic production was always challenging. When you can create infinite replicas with semi-random variations it only makes the problem worse.

Exactly. Art as an economic industry may die out. As a career, it may be reduced to a much smaller scope. But we'll always be able to express ourselves artistically - maybe even more so if AI frees up more time in which to do so.

...or enjoy making art with other people to use in our commercial endeavors ?

Like, it might actually be fun to work with creatives to make art. It's one of the areas of my work I actually really enjoy. I can't imagine prompting DALL-E to be as fun and enjoyable, nor would it be "creative".

No, definitely not. It's a sad fact that many people have to do what most of us would consider 'boring' work in our day-to-day lives. Prompting DALL-E may not be 'as creative' as not using it, in the same way that using Photoshop tools might not be 'as creative' as painting with a brush, but that doesn't invalidate either process.

Commercialization of anything and everything is the real capital P Problem that needs solving, in the grand scheme of things.

While people are (to varying degrees) generous, its hard to build everything on generosity and recirocity. On the other hand once you start bean counting and transactionaling everything and in particular not even accept different types of beans, out entire existence becomes the one-dimensional, money driven disaster it has become.

Many artists are really scared by what these apparently uncontrollable interests are unleashing. Who can blame them.

Some people here seem to worship "progress" as a new-age god, so they'd probably be chiding. Unfortunately for that crowd, moving fast and breaking things works well for them up until they break too many things, at which point everything breaks. It wouldn't surprise me if the story of the next few decades is the age of hubris finally falling flat.

I wouldn't say thanks to information theory, but rather on human tendency to be bored with repeated styles. It doesn't matter how good the tech is, but if it comes out like Michael Bay movies or anything else that we learn to recognize, people are going to want 'more original' art. The other difference is that the point of art is to express and evoke emotions, it's an open question whether that can be done effectively without having feelings during the process.

This is a good take and under appreciated generally. Already theres an identifiable generic flavour to much AI art. Just knowing that it’s AI generated makes it feel somewhat lifeless. Not because of the end product is lacking , but because of the awareness of the production method. it’s less engaging if you know a machine spat it out, especially once you recognise and become bored by the stylistic markers that indicate machine generation. That will play into the spending calculation of, for example, advertising agencies, particularly high end brand work.

I’ve seen some screenshots of ai ads already. They are usually somewhat horrying, like the person will be smiling, but you start to notice their mouths are open too large and they have too many teeth and lack eyelids, and the people in the background are even more distorted and nightmareish.

I do landscape photography and the AI produced landscapes that I've seen have things that are subtly wrong and annoying/disturbing upon inspection. Things like the wrong types of clouds showing up (a lenticular cloud in the wrong spots in the wrong seasons), sunlight coming from multiple angles or the wrong angle for that time of day, reflections in water (or the lack of them), aerial perspective being peculiar, and shadows just being wrong.

While I don't doubt that someday, an AI of some sort will be able to get that right, the knowledge of the items in the scene and how that relates to the physical world isn't something that that the current models are able to recreate.

Bingo - solving the problem of making "good" AI art seems close to solving the problem of making AI human.

I wouldn't make that strong a statement anymore. The level of play by AlphaGo/Zero seems to demonstrate creativity and understanding that we would only attribute to humans. That is to say I can't say for certain that emotion couldn't be faked, and we don't know that human emotion is super-special, only that it's complex.

Do they demonstrate creativity, or is that just us romanticizing it? Maybe these games really are just reducible to numbers at the end of the day.

They do in the sense that choices are so far off what's known good "based on the numbers". How else do we define creativity? With the brute force search tree being roughly 191^lookahead and outcome being life/death of a groups of stones that depend on distantly neighboring influences, it's hard to call it simply computation.

"AI won’t make artists redundant"

Of course it will make them redundant. All it takes is one "creative" in place of several graphic designers. What you write are just theories. Do you know what the design process looks like? How many "human problems" are there along the way?

Only the ARTISTS will remain. Artists whose work you will want to buy. Such a fancy for the rich.

I hire artists to turn my terrible sketches into decent looking stickers, generally in a fun, cartoony style.

For the last two ideas I tried midjouney and the best I could get from it was an additional reference to send to an artist. I watched a few YouTube tutorials that offered some interesting techniques for getting better and better images from midjouney, but to my eyes those midjouney experts seem awfully flexible about what the final output will be. They’re dancing with the AI but not fully wielding it.

Perhaps next time I’ll hire both an artist and a midjouney expert and compare results that way.

If it's just a character, you want Stable Diffusion. If it's a "scene" then you might want Midjourney.

Look into ControlNet. Midjourney is not very customizable. Checkout reddit.com/r/StableDiffusion for examples of controlnet. You can turn your sketches into art with it.

That is a very good point: having tight control on style and composition is significantly harder than getting a good-looking image with those techniques (it is doable but it takes practice to learn how to engineer prompt accordingly)

Wish I could filter this conversation to those who are actually artists by profession. A little hard to hear a whole bunch of non-artists telling them what they should do or feel about this.

This is a strange line of thought. I mean, yes we'll get a whole bunch of bullcrap posts from people not involved, but effectively you're instead reducing the conversation to "Lets give the artist their 15 minutes of neo-luddism".

Artists are not the first group to fall under the hammer of technology and automation, and they will not be the last. I'm sure most blacksmiths thought themselves artists that worked hard to master a craft after years of work, and now a press stamps out that same work in seconds. This is hitting people hard now because things we think of as distinctly human are now being accomplished by machines (though was this not true in the past?).

There are discussions for artists here, but there are plenty more for all of society. Jobs will get replaced and change in form at an ever increasing rate due to technology if trends keep up. Will the rate of technology change job requirements faster than humans can retrain? If it does what are nations and societies going to do about this. Much like the AI safety issues, we need to answer these large scale issues now before artists and programmers are stabbing each other in the streets for breadcrumbs while multitrillionares that own the technology live like gods.

That's interesting. HN has a software bent on startups and such. As if programming is one of The Known Ways to create something. Fundamentally, our instructions are executed by a machine to some effect, one of which could be profit.

I wonder if artists are having their "software moment": a decade from now (or sooner) they will say, "Adobe Photoshop is the assembly language of digital art; use these AI frameworks/prompts/GPU cloud mix to do X and Y."

From that perspective, it's just pragmatic. No one writes assembly unless it's either for passion or practical.

I think that “AI” (there is not even a drop of an actual AI in the current technology) is overhyped and barely can handle any of jobs people wanted it to do. It’s maybe good for sketching, be that code, text or images, but not for final product, and won’t be any time soon. As it was with all “AI” products in the past, it’s over advertised by ML bros and grifters.

Half an hour trying to force one of the models to spit a manga-style picture of a character... with correct number of arms and legs. No successes so far. It's frankly disgusting most of the time, prob due to uncanny valley-like effect - it's kinda close, but not quite there. Not to mention, I'm sure I did not put "amputee" in the prompt, but I got a few pictures that should be honestly tagged with "guro"... and I wasn't even trying for NSFW!

Same experience with code: Github Copilot is 90% right 100% of the time. Its suggestions for comments and docstrings are so bad I would never accept them in a code review, basically your old "a++ # adds 1 to a"; the generated code is always wrong, and the bigger the chunk of code generated the more wrong it is. It's kind of OK as a replacement for Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V and for generating boilerplate... which shouldn't be there in good code anyway.

I suspect that for every impressive output we see there are tens of thousands of trash outputs someone had to wade through. Further, the less popular your prompt and the smaller the representation of what you want in the model, the harder it is to get something even remotely resembling what you want. Though, I'm not a "prompt engineer" (WTF is that...), so maybe I'm just using it wrong...

You guys need to understand, that the skill ceiling for AI art is very high. Its not some iphone-selfie tier technology. Go to Civitai.com and huggingface, to start comprehending how many AI models there are, and how powerful the latest models are. It takes at least two weeks of intense usage to get the hang of the basics/parameters and produce good output. AI art in the end will probably be dominated by professionals because of the increasing skill requirements.

But that's exactly what I'm saying? Do you believe such professionals to hit the nail on the head on the first try at the prompt? If it's complex enough, even mastery won't shield you from the need to experiment, and discard failed experiments. Looking at how it is for programmers, rewriting a single line of code multiple times is quite normal before arriving at something that works. And programming languages are artificial and much simpler than natural languages, so I suspect that it'll require even more experimentation during crafting of those prompts.

Pray tell, what are you going to do the moment it is not overhyped?

Sitting around on our asses going "We don't have AGI/ASI yet, nothing to worry about" is kinda like saying 'nuclear bombs are nothing to worry about' in 1940 while watching your neighbor create an every larger pile of uranium. To think we're not going to accomplish this eventually is foolishness, and when we've already accomplished it, it's going to be very difficult to setup a legal framework that reigns in corporate interests around it.

What are you even going to do? We have no agency to do anything with the march of society and technology. Business interests rule and we are fed information that aligns our interests with those as much as possible. I mean climate change is a much more real evil than startrekian fantasies about ai, and yet no one here is doing anything or marching in the street or blowing up oil refineries. There should be ten threads a day on the environment here if people gave a crap like they should. That should give you a preview of the level of political engagement of the current residents of the earth.

I’m gonna be doing whatever I’m gonna be doing. Job market changes all the time, and people adapt. I feel pretty secured (at least for some time) for my field, which is a lot of R&N in wireless networks/radio and embedded systems. My point is that current “AI” is just very well learned models, but it can’t really do intelligent work on its knowledge, can’t innovate, can’t infer, doesn’t have an actual thought process.

Founder of dreamphilic.com here. Based on our users I am seeing some trends: 1. Great artists are generating great prompts and thus great images because at the end it all comes down to your imagination. 2. I expected most users to be young population but what I see is they are mostly people of age 35 and above. 3. Creative people are enjoying it. People who are not good at using artistic tools or don't have access to those expensive tools but have good imagination can also see their imaginations come to life, thanks to AI.

I want to make a cartoon. Who can produce the imagery faster? Either spend $ commissioning an artist or spend money entering text in to a computer.

"A teddy bear walking though a park". If I don't choose the artist, the artist is out of the job and the AI wins.

You could say someone needs to train the AI with an artwork dataset but once that's initially done, its over, considering that studios are the main supplier to artists income.

Does this not cause redundancies?

Be realistic and practical here, in what situation are you going to start typing into a computer "A teddy bear walking in a park" and then start to do anything with the images it generates in a case where you would've entrusted and artist or designer to make something for you ?

What about when you need different scales, different colors, different this and that, are you going to sit there and keep prompting for this ?

I've worked with people who are really good with Illustrator, they can change and produce images for different purposes in a ridiculously short amount of time already. The ting is, even if I could recruit AI to do it, I probably wouldn't and just want someone else to take care of it. To make favicons and screw around with thumbnails and vector images and the list goes on.

There's also the fact that, some people have an eye for style and application of it. Even when I've tried to use DALL-E, which I never have successfully because it always generates something weird enough to be unusable, I've not been confident that my own personal selection is good enough, I'm not a designer, I don't have an eye for art or color, or style etc. It's not my profession to know what's nice. I don't want that responsibility, so I outsource it.

The problem arises if a bunch of studios start adopting AI assisted workflows to increase productivity and the studios that are holdouts get left behind because it would no longer be economically viable to continue animating without AI. It could be similar to how traditional cel animation has declined in use. If AI assisted output clears the bar for consumers, then it's probably good enough for managers.

People using AI professionally probably won't put the raw output of DALL-E straight into the finished work either, I've seen artists that use Stable Diffusion to generate a base image and then do heavy amounts of editing with Photoshop or similar.

We're talking about digital art and it would actually piss me off (a lot) if I didn't have original copies of the art I paid for to be modifiable later. Especially if I was using the work commercially.

I can of course imagine a situation where I might be able to get a PSD file or vector from DALL-E, but honestly I can't imagine myself sitting there telling DALL-E how I want it to modify my PSD in minute details, I'd just pay someone to do it.

This is where I think there is a practical misunderstanding when people talk about this subject, there is a lot of fiddly work and minutia that goes on with art which I just think people don't realize.

AI won't make artists redundant because it does not experience human sensations. The only thing an AI can do is read the flow of data we make available to it, which is text, audio and video.

An AI will never be able to represent what it means to be subject to police brutality, because it cannot feel being beaten and humiliated by a cop.

An AI will never be able to paint an anti-war poster from the perspective of someone who has felt the ground shake due to shelling of their hometown, because an AI has not lived there for 30 years and does not know the feeling.

The only way AI will make artists redundant would be if it became completely human, which is contradictory since at that point it would be a real artist

In case you don't know, AI art is not an AI pumping out art by itself. A human prompter has to prompt the AI. The prompter can perfectly understand 'police brutality'/'shelled hometown', as they are human, just like the artist.

Artists feel threatened, because they invested 90% of their time in drawing skills, which went from unthinkable to automate, to AI surpassing 90% of artists in 8 months.

> they invested 90% of their time in drawing skills, which went from unthinkable to automate,

Except that the AI doesn't automate drawing, it automates the creation of an image of a drawing.

I have a friend who is an amateur water colour painter. I have no doubt that an AI/ML application can produce pictures that look very much like pictures of his pictures. But at the moment at least it is utterly unable to create the actual artwork.

All of that is true, but as soon as you model subjectivity and embodiment with any kind of credibility it's game over.

The current generation of tools doesn't do that. It's essentially a very sophisticated parrot making speech-like noises it doesn't understand.

But a couple of generations from now, I think it's going to be much less straightforward.

Also, the thing about genius is that it's subjective. In the arts it's more or less synonymous with mastery of a medium with impactful novel insight.

You could argue that AI systems are well on their way to mastering visual media. It's not quite true, but that's because the people training these systems are not artists, and so far they're selecting work that looks a bit Social Media and Game-Ish rather than Art Museum and Contemporary Show-ish.

I don't see any reason in principle why that couldn't be fixed with better training.

So what about impactful novel insight? The point here is there's a kind of cultural and perceptual feedback process which selects certain works out of semi-random cultural noise. There are always a lot of artists making a lot of work, and most of it is not that interesting. Selecting interesting work doesn't require intent, it just needs a feedback loop.

So if you create a situation in which a community rates the art and selects certain works/algorithms/training sets over others, I suspect the impactful and novel insight will happen automatically.

Sentience or subjectivity are not required. In fact you'll get an automated version of what happens already, where different communities with different levels of education and sophistication select different kinds of work for their own reasons, and some are considered "works of genius" for reasons that may be as political and cultural as artistic.

You are discounting fiction then. Lots of art describe or depict things the artist never personally experienced.

It's not that clear-cut. Humans can empathize, to the point where observing someone getting hurt flares similar neural response to the one in the hurt person. Sufficiently vivid imagination in conjunction with a lot of research can give you an experience "close enough" to the real deal to be able to write about it. I've witnessed an author falling into a deep, clinical depression solely due to the subject they decided to tackle. Not every person is capable of such a deep dive into an experience they nominally don't have, but authors and artists tend to be able to do this. In such a setting, "personal experience" is a fluid term, not necessarily synonymous with "he was there at the time personally" or "it happened to him personally".

When you wake up from a nightmare, you're covered in cold sweat, you have trouble breathing normally, your hands are shaking - did you "personally experience" what you've dreamed of? Authors and artists are in a business of dreaming like that while awake, and sharing those dreams with others.

The AI will surely get there at some point, as others noted, once you model embodiment and imagination it's game over. But it's not as close as others seem to think, in my opinion.

You’re being downvoted for contradicting the AI hype machine, but you are completely correct. Humans have been creating art for at least tens of thousands of years, and none of the reasons we create art will ever be fulfilled by AI.

You are reading too many coffee table books.

You are reading too much Twitter

But I don't.

And I don't read coffee table books, so now what?

Ok. :]

AI just needs to be better at creating art from instructions than a hired artist is.

And we already know great art can be created following a prompt - hired artists interpret their client's instructions all the time (concept art, game art, movie art, etc.).

hired artists interpret their client's instructions all the time (concept art, game art, movie art, etc.).

I cannot disagree with this comment any more, I hire creative people to help me to create things which isn't in my skillset. I don't hire them to tell them what I want entirely. Sometimes I'd at least describe what I want, but often they will say, well that's good but how about...

That is a huge part of the value add for me personally. If I knew what I wanted, half the battle would be one, AI or not.

I don't think we disagree. Artists help you turn a relatively short and vague description into a finished artwork. The clients usually already provide very little information in comparison to the number of decisions needed to complete the work (e.g. choosing composition, theme, style, colors, lighting, etc.).

Working from vague prompts is exactly what the current AIs do. Follow up questions and ability to do precise edits are likely next steps in the evolution.

I think artists will just have to leverage the tech on a larger scale to be effective. No matter how it's created, the best art will still have value..

It may not be economical to, for instance, have an entire studio of dozens or hundreds of artists produce an animated film with an anticipatory budget.. but I suspect it will still be quite profitable for a handful of artists and some AI to produce that same film in a shorter time period.

Or it may be profitable for a 13 year old kid to produce that film in his spare time. In that way, I see it as a sort of artistic renaissance where new voices are found and the pace of artistic acceleration is unprecedented.

I wait when game from like Dark Souls series is released and all concept art is generated by AI, to me it seems such game will have no style consistency, it will look like game that is is put together from market place props (eg. cheap garbage).

Because AI can generate very good looking art works, I don't think it is all there in making compelling, consistent, and visually pleasing art, simply because there are feed back loops, between multiple people, from concept art to end product.

- 3 years later -

The whole game is generated.

It brings on a renaissance of game designers, because now ideas can be iterated and polished instead of dumping thousands of hours into prototyping.

AI can create the skeleton (for now), but we need new AI models for the meta-analysis (game balance, replayability, novel mechanics).

And AI game reviewers to curate that, because we won't have time to play everything.

What's sad about AI is peoples reaction to it. The defensiveness from artists misses the point: Technology should better our lives and free us to pursue our passions. The real problem is under our current economic model, it has the opposite effect. Instead of getting defensive, we should be rethinking the role of our economy. Sadly (and cynically) I suspect we won't see change until AI comes for the CEO's and politicians.

>an open-source Stable Diffusion, which is a basis for multiple projects, including commercial Midjourney.

source? The model behind Midjourney looks quite different from Stable Diffusion, to me it looks like a model conditioned to image embeddings (like Karlo or Dalle 2) instead of text embeddings, also I don't see any mention of the Creative ML OpenRAIL-M license on their website, when they experimented with SD in August they added it but it has not been there for months, To me it is clear that MJ has trained a new diffusion model from scratch, it is also noticeable by the difference in performance, even for a model trained in AI image recognition it struggles with images generated by Nijijourney (MJ but finetuned for anime) while it has an easy time with anime images generated by SD and its finetuned models [1], which means that the distribution of images is very different.

[1]: https://huggingface.co/spaces/saltacc/anime-ai-detect

I think so too. AI might affect applications like Photoshop if the result of the provided output is good enough. Stable Diffusion is going into this direction. While ChatGPT is nice, real authors and journalists create value by bringing in a nuanced and subjective insights based on their research/expertise/ideology.

Personally, I highly value the vanilla perspective of chatGPT's explanations compared to picking through some authors bias to try to find truth for myself. What you are calling value is nice for entertainment purposes or perhaps some heuristic understanding and essentialization... But it is usually at expense of nuance and truth.

It doesn't matter whether diffusion programs or even more rarefied approaches to solution spaces can capture the essence of human-produced art.

Markets are fundamentally about perceived value instead of actual value. Algorithmically generated creative works do not have to compete in the field of actual value; they has to compete in the field of perceived value. Let's be real, almost all customers of art - whether they pay before or after the production - are pretty bad at estimating actual value.

More philosophically, it's not possible to empower humans above human superorganisms. You make a successful walled garden or you fail to reproduce your ideals into the future.

That is a bunch of minced words to explain a very simple concept:

People judge results, not effort.

You don't buy a product because the producer put in <X> effort, you buy it because it's good (FSVO good).

> People judge results, not effort.

That may be true for graphic art for movies, video games, websites, etc, but not for fine art. In fine art, the resulting artwork is judged much less by the result than what went into it. The artworld already is deluged by art, so the narrative around the art and the artist is the most important differentiating element.

Food Safety and Veterinary Office? Fire Service Vehicle Operator?

> Hey GPT, what does FSVO mean in the above

> "FSVO" stands for "For Some Value Of". In the given statement, "FSVO good" means that the product is considered good to some extent, though the degree of goodness may vary depending on personal opinions and preferences.

What is "actual value"?

In fine art? Social signalling. AI generated art is like artificial diamonds.

In the case of diamond it seems better to choose the artificial one. Especially the real one's price is controlled.

I have a hard time being worried until AI actually becomes comparable to human intelligence (and then art will probably be a lesser concern amongst others). Why? Because art is about the generation of things that people find appealing, which you can automate, but it's as much about am emotional conversation between people (using a "language" words can't replicate), interest in artists as people, and doing novel things. My suspicion is that whatever great thing people can do with AI, in the ways it exists now, people will get bored with it very, very quickly and move on to something they feel is more soulful.

The valuable art will simply become more performative. We still pay a ton for live music even though we can hear the same music for dirt cheap.

We pay a ton for theatre when we can just watch a movie or recorded play.

We have adapted to cheap art many times before.

What I've seen from all the AI lately is a lot of vague uncanny valley images that somehow don't fit. They're too perfect and even when they try to be imperfect it's too intentional.

AI won’t make artists redundant because you don’t pay an artist for a picture in the first place, you pay them for their creativity, their ideas, which may eventually result in a picture. You know, their artistry. Too many artists devalue themselves and their livelihood by defining their work as entirely mechanical, entirely defined by their material product. Art is more than just produce. You’d think artists would be the first to say that.

The value in artist is their skill in realizing their creativity. I can be creative too but but sure as hell I can't paint it.

> Will there be room for human artists?

When the details of the machine's output will have a justifiable foundation, then the machine will be an artist.

Before that, you employ «human artists» because they have those missing modules.

The need is in those missing modules. The agent who has them can "do everything" or cooperate with other specialized agents - like in normal work.

Imagine a world where AI art tools are commonly used.

Ignore the messy legal and moral issues; just imagine, for a moment. What's changed?

These tools effectively enable artists to:

- generate a variety of concepts for some desired output

- render out the detail, lighting and shading that has traditionally been done by hand

- convert existing images and concepts into artistic 'styles'

You want a set of icons? You want a custom font?

The effort is reduced from weeks or work to days, if that.

People will have to learn to use them; just like any other tool.

So really, what actually changes?

Two things, specifically spring to mind:

- The existing skills that people have to do these things become obsolete.

- The number of people needed to do the current job that artists are employed to do is drastically reduced.

That's what's going to happen, and it's happening already. You need people to paint tween frames for your animated video? Well, 2 guys in a basement can do it now instead of a team of 10.

Yeah, you still need the key frames... but the mechanical shading and drawing that employs of lot of people, specifically in the animation industry, is going to be ERADICATED.

In corporate teams, will your 'design team' of 5 people be cut to 1? Probably not.

...but, those industries don't employ the majority of creatives. The majority of artists do not draw concept art. They do mechanical technical processes in VFX and animation.

There will be new companies, and new roles.

...but, a lot of people will find the mechanical work that earns them their daily living wage will replaced by a much more efficient automated process. Those people may, perhaps, be able to re-train and get new creative roles doing other things.


What the 'anti-AI' movement has won is a short reprieve until the 'ethical' and 'watermarked' corporate AI art generators roll out, and get accepted as industry standard. Maybe that's a good thing? I dunno.

I think it's fair to sat that the cat is out of the box now.

In the future, there will not be industrial scale human drawn 2d art. That industry will no longer exist. Hopefully the people currently in that industry can find other creative roles (or retire) by the time that happens.

When photography came out, it had a similar impact on hand drawn photo-realistic paintings; and I think you can see thing, historically. It's not that no one does it any more. It's that it has become a niche job, that is technically inferior to just taking a photo.

That's where this is headed for 2D artists.

>What the 'anti-AI' movement has won is a short reprieve until the 'ethical' and 'watermarked' corporate AI art generators roll out,

They've managed to get some NSFW models shut down, but have they achieved anything else?

MSFT looks like they want to go full steam ahead with this, and they have pretty good lawyers who will not be frightened by a few frivolous lawsuits.

I think the case of https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/02/netfl... shows that the movement has had a tangible delaying effect of becoming industry standard.

I don't believe they'll be successful in stopping things from happening... but I think it's pretty undeniable that it's caused things to slow down in wide scale corporate adoption.

Presumably Netflix's only mistake was tweeting about it, though?

I don't see how anyone would have found out otherwise.

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