In response, the painting’s author, Jason Allen, said he was wronged.
Let’s see what the two sides say in this conflict between AI and human artists.
The battle between AI and artists
Every August, the Colorado State Fair hosts an art competition.
This competition is divided into 15 tracks, and the category that won the first prize in this AI painting is “Digital Art/Digitally Retouched Photos”.
Jason Allen, who submitted this painting, said that he adjusted the input prompts many times and used Midjourney to generate more than 100 paintings. After several weeks of revision and selection, the three most satisfactory works were selected and used Gigapixel. AI zooms in and prints on canvas.
△Jason Allen generated two other paintings that did not win the award
Facing the overwhelming doubts after winning the award, Allen further explained that when he submitted his work, he had marked “Jason Allen via Midjourney” in the author column, and he also used Photoshop and Gigapixel for post-processing.
In his view, the winning image contains a lot of “parts of human endeavor”.
But the artists didn’t buy his claim.
Some netizens mocked:
I love how he keeps talking about how he modifies the cue words like it’s hard.
A netizen also compared the incident to “people won’t let robots participate in the Olympics”, saying:
It’s been 25 years since Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov, and we can all agree that a game of chess is a human-centered activity, primarily for self-enjoyment.
So we don’t need to compete with robots, let alone machines designed to beat us. The same is true for art.
A comment on Twitter with more than 5,000 likes even said pessimistically:
We are witnessing the demise of art.
If even art jobs cannot be avoided being engulfed by machines, then other high-skilled jobs will also face the crisis of being eliminated.
At that time, what are we left with?
In the end, the intensifying turmoil reached the ears of the organizers, but they did not intend to punish Allen, because the rules of the game did not prohibit the use of AI.
The fair’s manager, Scott Stoller, said:
We don’t ban this kind of behavior, but we’ve seen it spark controversy. Next year’s competition may be re-evaluated, perhaps ruling out this kind of work. After the fair, we will have a dialogue with the art world to discuss countermeasures.
But in fact, it’s not just this incident, the conflict between AI and human artists has long sparked debate.
Controversy already exists
Take the recently popular Stable Diffusion for example, many professional painters can’t help but wonder if they are about to lose their jobs after reading the works it generates.
Even on Zhihu, there is such a topic: “The illustrator friend thinks that AI will make him unemployed, how can I comfort and enlighten him?”
Because of the excessive use of Stable Diffusion and the issue of artistic copyright, a group of artists quarreled so much that an unofficial account was reported to the ban.
The copyright issue behind this has always been a controversial point that AI painting cannot avoid.
For example, recently, many painters have issued statements one after another: prohibiting the use of their own works for AI learning and creation.
It can be seen that the disputes between AI and human artists will continue in the future.
One More Thing
Having said that, we went to the official website of Midjourney, which produced this award-winning painting, and found that there are still many netizens using it to do meaningful and fun things.
For example, some netizens used Midjourney to synthesize a photo of their deceased grandmother in the flowers, and expressed their longing for her grandmother deeply.
Some netizens used it to create a pair of their own “steampunk style” tarot cards.
There are also sand sculpture netizens with big brains, who used Midjourney to generate a group selfie of cavemen…
Anyway, are you optimistic about the future development of AI painting?
We’re watching the death of artistry unfold right before our eyes — if creative jobs aren’t safe from machines, then even high-skilled jobs are in danger of becoming obsolete
What will we have then?
— OmniMorpho (@OmniMorpho) August 31, 2022