AI art will turn you into Pavlov's dog

in OnChainArt11 months ago (edited)


There is currently quite a fracas going on in the online art world. One that makes the NFT arguments that went on in 2020-2021 seem pretty damn civil. I assume you've been seeing this image (below) being shared and used as a profile pic recently.

john-bridges-jbridges-imogene-chayes-asset.jpg's what's what on the whole thing, as far as I, a professional world renowned illustrator, am concerned.

I have only two points to make here.

The first is rather conventional advice. and the second is for anyone who is an actual f8cking grown up who can think past next Tuesday.

Does everyone know what AI art is at this point? Can I just assume you've all see the arguments about it? The next two short paragraph's are BREIF rundown, go ahead and skip them if you already know what the hubbub is all about.

AI art and "AI artists"

There's "Artificial intelligence" art programs that people have started using where you basically type in some prompt words and the program spits out an image based on those prompts. And depending on which program or how much time you wanna piss away, you can have it modify or redo parts or try again with different parameters. The program obviously isn't able to draw anything, so what it is doing is culling and merging and cobbling together that image from pictures/styles that it has culled from all across the internet into a database. It's an algorithm. The nefarious bit that has most artists the most pissed off is that the data base is full of pictures that NO ONE gave the programmers any rights to use. It's an algorithm that steals art, to shove through it's AI image meat the request of people who want to "make art".

Being that I ended up headlong on the NFT field, I happen to know more about digital art creation, and know more people on the cutting edge of it, than anyone who still inks with a brush made out of hair has the right to...I worked with a very early version of this three years ago, and I can tell you there are far more advanced programs, than what's being used by the masses currently. IN any case, that's the simple summary.

Now then....

1- conventional advice- The Creative "Process".

As a general rule, I am all for any new tool or trend that will make my current and future completion lazy and help them fail. So, part of me is just fine with this AI thing running it's course and creatively neutering an entire swath of people who could have become an actual threat.

Which is what's it's going to do if it hangs around for any length of time.

I'm not going to blow a bunch of sunshine up your ass about how becoming an "artist" is a journey. And that working on developing and skill is blah blah blah. Here is what you need to do to become good in a creative field- You have to make mistakes. Because that is how you develop creatively. I do NOT mean learn how to not make mistakes. I mean you understand that those mistakes have value and how to use them. Here's an obvious example...Voodoo Joe....


The flagship character of Arsenic Lullaby, one which I build a career on. He was a "mistake" or more actually a scribble on something that was supposed to be something else. Ideas, characters, techniques that are original, almost without exception where mistakes. You do something wrong, but keep it in mind because it can be made useful in some other way. This goes for all creative endeavors.

Pretty much every comedian can tell you of some really funny bit they have that started out as a part of a bit that totally bombed. Mistakes are often times just elements that need to be used differently or combined with something else. Musicians can tell you the same thing. "I f8cked up the cord progression, but liked the sound so I sped it up and added it to this type of riff and boom, hit song."

Here's something I tell people all the time "a style is just doing something wrong, consistently". Jack Kirby drew a lot of things wrong, and they way he drew them wrong became what we loved about his work and what made his work undeniably unique.

Jack Kirby, Nirvana, Tina Turner, Picasso, Little Richard...Orson f8cking Wells, all became great by doing things "wrong". If any of them had just instantly been able to function in their given field at a competent level, the world would be a very dreadful place. We'd not only not have their works, we wouldn't have any of the work of the people they inspired...who made mistakes of their own.

You are not training your brain to draw or play the guitar, you are training your brain to see things differently and produce differently.

If in "creating art" you are just typing words into a keyboard and getting an image spit back at you...that's a dead end. It's like standing on a skateboard, on a treadmill. Yeah, you went 10 miles, but your legs ain't getting any stronger. You're not accidentally making a line too long, you're not accidentally hitting the wrong cord, your voice isn't cracking in a weird way, onstage during in impersonation of the president. All those mistakes have value...and, given how little we know about the sub conscious mind, might not have ever been mistakes in the first place.

You think now, maybe you can type prompts, notice a mistake and use that in the next prompt? That's not how it works. If it was, every film critic would be able to make a movie as groundbreaking as "Citizen King". You have to make the mistake. It has to be your subconscious not lining up with what you think you want to do.

That's were art comes from, where music comes from, where comedy comes is what creativity is. Your conscious mind kept bust with some activity and your subconscious mind interjecting. Conscious minds just scribbling or strumming a guitar or whatever and something comes out and you go "wtf was that!? wait...I can do something with that."

Here's an example below, I was trying to get a female pose right, then started scribbling an attempt at monster, and the monster scribble just went sideways from what I had in mind, so I just let it keep going sideways and adding to the mistake because I didn't want to draw the f8cking female pose...and...I said "I don't know wtf that is...but I'm using it"


I have entire story's written and being worked on for that scribble now. A scribble I scribbled while struggling with attempt no. 247 of this, what should be very, simple illustration (below) which I have been trying to get right, off and on, for YEARS.


Now, one could say I've lost my mind going back to a tooth fairy drawing over and over again. Trying to get it right since 2017. BUT...I've come up with about 12 other great ideas while fighting with this thing. That tooth fairy illustration is less a drawing that I can't get right as it is a boxers speed bag. It's keeping my hands moving and my mind sharp.

As for such programs replacing all illustrators/artists, your job as a creative is to make some kind of connection with your fellow man. An AI is not human, will never understand what it means to be human as so cannot possibly have as profound a connection to humans as a human could. Frankly that should be enough of a head start for us, and I'm not concerned. But who knows, maybe we all end up in a salt mine being horsewhipped by a robot.

You want to know if you are truly an artist soul? If you consider being replaced by a computer and part of you says "good".

2-For anyone who is an actual f8cking grown up who can think past next Tuesday.
It's about the money, stupid. $$$$$$$$$

Hey, remember when you just though FB was this fun site and it was maybe making some money off of ads...and then you found out Zuckerburg was saving all of everyone's data the entire time and selling it for billions? Hahaha, boy that was something. People ACTUALLY believed that it was just some site made for the purpose of having fun. Hahahaha, oh live and learn, we'll never fall for that one again.


Oh, or remember this one?


Understand the kind of money that is behind developing Artificial Intelligence. Elon Musk has been working on it for years. That kind of money. Elon Musk, 175 Billion net worth and others at that level, kind of money. The kind of money that shrugs at whatever measly profit the largest Pixar movie made.

So, if you think these AI art programs were made so that people could make pretty pictures, then I have some magic beans to sell you. If you take every single dime that was ever made in profit from the creation of Photoshop, it would not pay for Elon Musk's property taxes. This is not being developed for any reason that has anything to do with "art"

It is not there to make art, it is not there to learn art, you are not teaching it art. "Art" money is not worth Elon Musk getting out of bed.

Whatever the hell purpose this is really's not to be a glorified art filter, or produce on demand clip art.

You aren't teaching it anything, actually. This is not a sci fi movie, it does not think, it does not learn. It takes in data and modifies what response it gives based on other data. If you want to call that "learning" I'd say you are being overly romantic in your verbiage, There is no art teaching going on, you are helping code it, for free.

You are giving it giving it data that is actionable beyond making pretty pictures.

Here's a possibly, and if I could think of it, then the people behind this sure as f*ck did. A physiatrist tells you to draw a picture, and you do. It does not matter one iota how well you can draw, because that is not what he wants to learn about you. What did he learn? He learned, what you were thinking about/what popped in your head to draw, what details are important to you, what colors appeal to you, if in your mind you picture things far away or picture things up close, what details do you not pay attention to/leave out...and a dozen other things. He knows enough to have a good understanding of your phycological profile. It's an entire branch of psychology, having people do "art" and reading into it. And it can be more effective than an ink blot test.

You give a good ad agency your personality profile, they can manipulate you into a hell of a lot...YOU however have gone ahead and given it an AI program, that can calculate a library of congress amount of data in 12 minutes. Nice work, congratulations...I hope that picture you made was really f8cking awesome.

Let's stop and think a moment. Let's put our soul-less capitalist brains in and think... what we can do with this data.

Just having a demographic breakdown of a population that has age, race, gender, religion, sexual preference is extremely valuable info. It's big big money info. Billions of dollars are spent trying to acquire/create such data as accurately as possible. Because there are people and businesses and governments that want to know how to get there massage reacted to positively.

If you could create a fair sized demographic database that was broken down into personality profiles...well...that would be far more valuable wouldn't you say? If you know how many people are GenX that's one thing, and you can use that. But that would be nothing compared to knowing what personality type is the largest percentage of the population...because every personality has a different way they like being talked to. You'd craft one message for type X and one message for type Y, and send them both completely different versions of what you want them to swallow.

And X and Y will respond to the messages like Pavlov's dog.

You wouldn't need the entire population, just a decent sample size. After that it's just extrapolating that sample over the entire size of the population. That is mathematical science that's already been refined and is used to run entire budgets of 1st world countries.

Enough people spend 15-20 minutes interacting with this AI to make "art", they can produce a psychological personality profile demographic breakdown of the population. Which can easily and nefariously used to make defense budget sized amounts of $$$$$$$$$$$$$ know, you could have everyone scared at once, or angry at once, or whatever serves whatever purpose you have.

So, THAT is a possibility of what this is really for...I was able to come up with that, only half thinking about what an AI program would be able to do with the input of several million people using an interactive art program in front of them. SO...the actual purpose of this AI art, is probably even grander than that.

I have to wonder, if some of you people have learned one single damn thing since the internet started. The true vast majority of the money generated online is based on manipulating whatever audience they can get the attention of. That is how it works, that is how things are done, that is why everyone's newsfeed has been customized to what they "like". That is why your phone heard you say big mac, and now McDonalds ads keep showing up on your browser.

Your phone heard it, sold that knowledge to McD's. Now, you're at McD's even though you weren't even hungry. some of you gave your psychological profile away to an AI program. Eating when you weren't hungry is now the least of your worries.

But hey, just keep doing whatever the hell you want. I'm sure there is NOTHING behind this, and NO ALTERIOR MOTIVES. Some kind souls just made this here art program for you to use out of the goodness of there hearts. Because gosh darnit, they want more art in the world! :) <3 case scenario, you are helping them code their program, for free.
worst case scenario is...whatever the fuq this is really being developed for, which ain't going to have anything to do with making art, That ain't how billionaires make money.



As always, homebase is here

banner faded quotes.jpg

NFT work here-

Here are the other places to find use of them is fluid, inconstant, susceptible to the whims and shifts of the paradigm




Of course companies are looking at how they can make more money from their online platforms, but they still have to provide a compelling experience for users. A lot of that can be about how many use it as the network effect will keep them there. It will be interesting to see if changes at Twitter will actually drive some away.

The 'AI' art is interesting in that it is understanding what people ask for on some level to produce the images. It does seem to mostly recycle existing images for that and sometimes gets basic stuff wrong, like giving people extra fingers. It may not fully understand what a person looks like. Of course it will only get better as the algorithms are tweaked and fed more data. In a few years the results will improve dramatically.

Human art can be more original as it does not just work from what others have produced before. It also uses the whole life experience of the artist. Using mistakes to innovate is common and I've done it myself in my music. We cannot always say why we did something or what makes it good and so that is hard to program into a machine.

I have heard of art produced by animals such as chimps and elephants selling for crazy money. Do they understand what they are doing? I believe they have some level of intelligence that may be quite different to how we think. I'm not sure if 'machine intelligence' can be thought of in the same ways and it would create ethical issues if a machine is considered self-aware. This is heavy stuff for philosophers to deal with. People will keep working on it anyway.

Well written! AI cannot be described as art and if the original images used can't be given sources, it's plagiarism and has no place on this platform.

I notice the lack of comments on this superb post is deafening which I find incredibly sad. The apathy astounds me as the result of humans using AI to generate art, writing or anything else will eventually lead to the death of creativity.

The apathy astounds me as the result of humans using AI to generate art, writing or anything else will eventually lead to the death of creativity.

I don't see that happening and if it does, it will be the point when we're all cyborgs, robots aka the end of humanity.

I also lean towards not believing that will happen, but there are a lot of stages of bad before there is finally death. Several generation were the bulk of creative don't reach the peak that they could have would be very bad, eh?

Thanks! Apathy is a very dangerous thing. I believe it has been responsible for more tragedy and misery than anything else. That death of creativity...maybe...I don't know if I believe that's possible, but we do seem to be staring it in the face.