The world is moving faster than ever in the age of social media. New trends and fads are coming up every day, and it's difficult to keep up.
One that has recently sparked a heated debate online is the creation of art through artificial intelligence. For casual users, it has been an entertaining use of their time to type in a random prompt and be able to 'create' an elaborate artwork in a matter of seconds.
Well, giving it a second thought might introduce a plethora of issues with this seemingly innocent pastime.
AI isn't an entirely foreign concept for us. From smart TVs to voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri, AI has been implemented in our daily lives to make things more convenient. But the advancements it has been making recently are putting human creativity and intelligence in danger.
When you hire an artist or animator, the goal is not to hire someone just because of their skills and the years they have spent perfecting their craft. Clients look for someone who can work efficiently and bring the most profit. In a profit-driven society, it is almost always quantity (or speed) over quality.
So, when the decision comes down to a hardworking individual who will need time to finish a new artwork against a machine that can give you a painting like that based on that artist's previous artwork in seconds, the choice is simple.
The products that these AI technologies come up with are not yet perfect enough to be used professionally. Still, with how fast things are advancing, it is only a matter of time before significant companies resort to cutting out artists altogether and turning to AI for the entire job.
This would end a whole industry of creatives, where people already face problems finding jobs and being taken seriously.
AI artwork takes parts of hundreds of other artworks on the internet and stitches them together to 'create' something new. Essentially, it is stolen art.
But many people seem to think otherwise, saying this is the same as real artists taking inspiration from other artists.
If a company were to be interested in using another person's art, they could simply take that image and add it to their AI art system, and in a matter of seconds, they would be able to get artwork that's different but still follows the same theme or style.
When it is as easy as that, only a few companies will be willing to hire an artist and pay them.
There is a fine line between taking inspiration and outright plagiarism; in this case, it is proving difficult to distinguish between the two.
People online put in these prompts and acquire artwork that they can now claim as theirs. They can easily tell everyone else that they are the ones who created it. This puts the years of hard work and effort that actual artists have put into getting to where they are now to absolute shame.
Thinking that people who do not have the skill set to create art get the same benefits and praise that real artists get is unfair and unsettling.
People make these kinds of artworks and then sell them as NFTs. With just a few clicks, it is quite simple to earn money from doing nothing.
Being able to do that, to gain profit from a product you had to put no effort or work into, is a dishonest, lazy and unethical way to earn money. In a world where that is possible, it is easy to feel like your societal place is threatened.
The ultimate question is, is skill and creativity still considered an asset anymore? In this day and age, when a machine can do an artist's work in seconds, is it even impressive to imagine original thoughts and bring them to life?
Would it be more beneficial and productive if society as a whole stopped spending so much of its valuable time on learning and developing skills and instead spent that time on advancing AI tech? And if so, where does that leave us?
In a 2016 clip of the renowned Ghibli Studios' director Hayao Miyazaki reacting to AI renditions of human movement, he said, "I strongly feel that this is an insult to life itself."
After all, what is art if not a representation of experiences and all that makes us human? Perhaps we all should harbour such feelings of apprehension when dealing with AI.