AI Art and the Future

  • May 12, 2024

  • Eyes4Research

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the way we work, play, and even view our world. As generative AI progresses and becomes more refined and precise, it will become a bigger part of more spaces, including the art world. AI will affect how artists do their work, brands present their images and connect to their consumers, and consumers choose what brands to support. The AI art revolution is already taking place, with AI even winning art contests, and is poised to do much more. Brands and artists that understand the role AI art will play and how that role can be leveraged to connect with their consumers will be well-positioned for success in this new consumer landscape.

You probably know a few things about AI and how it can be used for writing, editing, and programming among other things, but you may be wondering what is “AI art”? AI art is simply any type of art, usually visual, that has been created by an AI program through machine learning algorithms and neural networks. AI art is currently getting significant attention from the interesting pictures that people are creating with it, but it will likely have long-lasting repercussions on a number of different industries in the future. The AI art revolution will affect not only artists and the art industry, but also the marketing industry and brands that are looking for new, novel ways to connect with their customers. So let’s take a look at the current state of AI art, some of the benefits and challenges it poses for those who use it, and some future trends we can expect.

AI Art Today

AI’s origins are generally traced back to the 1950s, but its march to its current state was relatively slow until recently. The release of GPT-1 in 2018 marked the introduction of generative AI, which would quickly change many aspects of our lives. The 2022 release of ChatGPT made AI widely available, bringing us to where we are today. As soon as generative AI became widely available to the public, artists, brands, and anyone with some good ideas have used it to create some interesting and captivating art.

There are three types of AI art: generative art, style transfer, and deep dream art. In deep dream art the AI takes an existing image or work of art and enhances it to give it a surreal and often psychedelic look. Style transfer is when AI manipulates an existing piece of art to fit another type of style. Each of these two types offer a range of possibilities, but perhaps the most popular form of AI art currently is generative art. Generative AI works on a set of rules that are programmed into it. The user then enters a set of keywords or prompts and the AI then creates a unique piece of art.

A Range of New Possibilities

The emergence of AI art has been greeted with skepticism and even scorn by many artists, yet some have come to embrace the possibilities it may bring to theirs and other fields. For example, photography was once thought to be the end of painting but instead it became a new art medium and some have credited it with being the impetus of the Impressionist movement in the late nineteenth century. Like photography more than 150 years ago, AI has the potential to become a new artistic medium and create a plethora of business and consumer possibilities in the process.

AI presents quite lucrative possibilities for artists, art dealers, and museums, as the contemporary art world is a $65 million market that has plenty of room for AI art. And if the Modern Museum of Art’s 2022 installation of AI art is any indication, it appears the art world is ready to accept AI. Yet, many artists remain reticent to accept AI, although experts believe it offers them possibilities as well.

If used properly, AI can help artists in their process by helping them get over “blocks” and perhaps give them a new perspective. Some experts also believe that AI art will ultimately enhance how people view human art, giving them a greater appreciation in the process. But the benefits and possibilities of AI art go far beyond the traditional art world and extend into the marketing and consumer spaces.

AI Art and Marketing

The possible benefits that brands can derive from using AI art are nearly limitless but will ultimately come down to how consumers accept the new technology. If consumers accept AI, then brands will have an array of new ways to engage their customers with little cost to them. Brands can use AI art to create unique images and content on social media that creates “buzz” in an interactive way.

An example of how companies could do this is by running an AI art contest on social media to come up with a new logo, phrase, or mascot for a particular brand. The campaign would utilize omnichannel marketing and the new technology of AI art while giving its loyal consumers a fun way to interact the company, thereby building more brand loyalty. As beneficial as AI art may possibly be for the art and marketing spaces, it will bring some pitfalls for certain sections. With that said, if companies and individuals realize some of those drawbacks now they will be better positioned to face them in the future.

Potential Pitfalls of AI Art

The most immediate and apparent drawback of AI art will be the human jobs it claims. It’s currently unknown which jobs specifically within the art and marketing worlds will be affected, but DreamWorks SKG cofounder, Jeffery Katzenberg, believes animation artists will be particularly hit hard. Katzenberg has said that 90% of all artist jobs on animated films will be lost to AI, adding:

“If you look at how media has been impacted in the last 10 years by the introduction of digital technology, what will happen in the next 10 years will be 10x as great – literally,” he said at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum. “And I think   AI as a creative tool – think of that as a new paintbrush or a new camera – has so much opportunity around it.”

It is important to note that although Katzenberg believes AI will replace most animation artists, he also thinks that it will provide a valuable tool for those artists who remain in the industry. On a similar note, some experts think that AI art could adversely affect the contemporary art space by lowering the value of human-made pieces and dragging down the value of the overall market. These potential pitfalls of AI remain to be seen, but the very real legal obstacles of using AI is being played out in real time.

Because copyright and trademark laws were not written with AI in mind, there are a number of legal problems surrounding the technology. For example, it’s logical to think that the person who created a particular AI art piece owns it, but what level of rights do the people who wrote the specific AI program used have? This question has led to even more legal issues, including how AI learns.

AI learns by studying and copying existing art to some degree, which some have argued may be a violation of intellectual property rights. Recently, a number of artists filed a class action law suit against AI art producers Midjourney, Stability AI, and Deviant Art, arguing that the art those generators produced amounted to copyright violation. Although the cases against Midjourney and DeviantArt was dismissed by a judge in October 2023, the case against Stability will move forward setting up a potentially major ruling. Just as the music industry experienced similar legal issues in the late 1980s and early 1990s with sampling, leading to rights of “derivative works,” the courts will likely make rulings that consider how human artists are rewarded for their derivative works.

Future Trends in AI Art

As AI art becomes more ubiquitous in the art, film, and marketing spaces, artists will have to keep ahead of the technological curve to stay employed. Katzenberg noted that not all animation artist positions will be eliminated from the industry, with those who adapt and learn AI being the ones to move into the future. Artists of different media will learn the algorithms and rules that govern how pieces are generated, which will create a new blend of automated efficiency and human creativity. This will eventually lead to new forms of education and curricula at universities and probably even high schools. Just as the post-industrial age forced people to learn new skills, the move to AI art will do the same. A new generation of AI “prompt producers” will likely emerge who will utilize their creations on social media, for marketing campaigns, and in the traditional art market.

Generative AI art will also probably claim a stake in the emerging blockchain technology. Look for AI generated art to be used to make nonfungible tokens (NFTs) that artists can sell. A platform called Art Blocks is at the vanguard of this movement, letting crypto enthusiasts, artists, and NFT collectors invest in AI NFTs. Another application where the blockchain and AI will converge is with smart contracts. Smart contracts stored on a blockchain can be used to sell AI art and to house virtual exhibits. There will certainly be a plethora of more applications for AI art in the Web3 infrastructure of the future.

Successful brands will also expand their AI art footprints in the coming years as a way to stay connected with their loyal customers and to increase their consumer base. As AI improves, brands will have to use fewer resources on marketing, which will allow them to target specific consumer demographics. Look for brands to increase their use of AI art on websites and ecommerce, discovering that they can present their message in a more attractive way at a fraction of the cost.  

Finally, AI art will likely bring changes to the legal profession. Due to the legal issues discussed earlier, a new branch of law will probably form with lawyers who are specifically educated in the nuances of “AI law.” This will also mean that government regulations and laws will also be enacted, which will mean more regulators and departments at the state and federal levels.

Although AI art is still a relatively new technology, there’s no doubt that it’s been a disruptive force in a number of spaces, including the art world, the legal profession, film, and marketing. AI art will likely mean the end of many jobs, but it will also create new ones, as well as a host of new opportunities for brands and consumers alike. Brands that learn how to harness the full potential of AI art in order to connect with existing and future costumers will successfully ride this technology to future success.

About the author:

An industry leader and influencer – Rudly Raphael specializes in all aspects of research logistical design involving quantitative methodology, implementing internal system infrastructure to streamline business processes, channelling communication and developing innovative research solutions to ensure Eyes4Research remains a competitive force in the marketplace. An entrepreneur, inventor (patent holder), blogger and writer – his articles have been published in various magazines such as Medium, Ebony Magazine, Bussiness2Community and also cited in various journals and academic publications.