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  • Shavonne Stellato

Should Designers Embrace AI?

Have you heard of AI? (No, not Adobe Illustrator) AI or Artificial Intelligence has been around for quite a while. But with the rise of AI-generated images, many designers fear this could be the end of their careers.

Some artists are concerned that these new image-generating tools could replace Graphic Designers, Illustrators, and others in the design field. As observed and noted by many other designers, these systems can make art more quickly and cheaply than a human could. This conclusion though is incomplete, as it forgets the important role of a human’s creative power in making art.

AI image generators work by searching the internet and utilizing large amounts of image and text data to create whatever prompts they are told. The results that follow can be peculiar but disturbingly accurate and realistic. There are some setbacks, however.

One of the many problems that AI-generated images have is that they’ve been criticized for contributing to sexist and racist image outcomes. Entering “CEO” could likely generate results with white men, and a “personal assistant” entry could generate images of women. OpenAI, the creators of DALL-E, one of the many AI-Image generators out there, confirmed, " 'models like DALL-E 2 could be used to generate a wide range of deceptive and otherwise harmful content' and that the system 'inherits various biases from its training data, and its outputs sometimes reinforce societal stereotypes."

Another problem with AI-generated images is they are a big source of copyright concerns because they extract original works from the internet to create a new image without crediting or compensating the original artist. This would make AI Images hard to use as companies would not want to take risks and possibly be sued for producing unoriginal work. " 'I think it's a great tool, internally, when brainstorming or just sharing visuals to friends,' said Risa Barcelona, a freelance Graphic Designer based in Manila, Philippines, who has tried generating AI art but hasn’t fully incorporated it into her creative process. 'But it can never be published and claimed as your work of art because at the end of the day, is it really yours?' "

These concerns will take time to be sorted out, but if you’re scared about the future of art and artists, there are hardly any reasons to see AI as a threat.

Why? Firstly, because of how easy it is to create an image with just a prompt. The image that comes out will not be as interesting as it would be if made by a human designer. Secondly, we as humans generally feel the pull of the physical. The more virtual art that’s out there, the more we desire the physicality of art. The art world has seen a rise in the popularity of physical materials, like paints, ceramics, sculptures, etc. which are becoming more prevalent.

For Vincenzi, an audio-visual artist, the new technological advances made by AI will not get rid of people but will help everyone gain a new appreciation for the creative process. According to Vincenzi, one of the current problems with AI arts is that they all look very similar. For artists that is no good because they can’t express themselves in the work and stand out from other creatives. “But this only emphasizes that, first and foremost, the key point of difference is having a strong guiding idea. Now that anyone can make a high-end image with little effort, it's those with a creative mind and developed ideas that will be able to captain their ship to exciting unchartered waters.”

So, while AI may be the big thing right now, it is not a perfect system. AI might generate images quicker and faster but because of the way it generates art, it could face legal issues. Since AI does not have human creativity and uniqueness, the images it produces may not be as interesting as the ones made by graphic designers. However, artists should think about taking advantage of AI capabilities and use them as a tool to enhance their creative process.

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