The first Artificial Intelligence Photography Award was announced. After reading the winning works, I panicked twice

170 years ago, Charles Baudelaire, the "father of modernism," famously criticized photography as "the refuge of every would-be painter who is not talented enough or too lazy to complete his studies." Over the past hundred years, photography technology has continued to develop, and this controversial new technology has finally been perfected into an art in various fields. From composition to light and shadow, from depth of field to color, photography has laid the foundation for movies, and has also been used through news media. Affects our understanding of the world.

A hundred years later, AIGC, an epoch-making technology, has emerged around us. While enjoying efficient work, it also poses challenges to all of our lives. I wonder if, faced with the powerful creativity of AI, contemporary artists will surrender like their ancestors who shouted "painting is dead" a hundred years ago, saying "art is dead".

The first Artificial Intelligence Photography Award was announced, and the real sense of dissonance is the switch for winning the award

Last Saturday, a photographic work "Twin Sisters in Love" created by AI won the first Prompted Peculiar International Artificial Intelligence Award at the Ballarat International Photography Biennale. Swedish photographer Annika Nordenskiöld inputs imaginary photo description text into the artificial intelligence tool Midjourney, and it can generate a surreal image through its huge database. In this competition, the cameraman is more like a screenwriter and director behind the scenes, giving orders to the artificial intelligence and testing its output results.

In this competition, the participation of artificial intelligence does not seem to have received too much criticism from the outside world, because the organizers made it clear that the entries were all images generated by artificial intelligence. More than 100 entries came from all over the world. In the end, the jury selected 20 representative works as finalists. Among them, "A Friend in Need" by visual artist Morganna Magee also received widespread attention. .

The themes and styles of the two works are completely different, but if you know that they are both created by AI, you will find some similarities. At first glance, the two pictures are very realistic. At first glance, you will mistakenly think that they are happening in real life. Looking at the details, the sisters holding an octopus and the kangaroo holding an unknown creature are all in reality. Incorporating a sense of dissonance, the first panic of being uncomfortable with the content of the photo also arose from this.

Perhaps it is this false reality, coupled with the fact that the two pictures seem to symbolize something invisible, that makes this type of work shortlisted for the finals.

The competition will last until October 22nd, local time, during which more works should be noticed and discussed. Apart from the competition itself, the most fundamental reason why AI creation awards have not been criticized by all walks of life in this competition is that the organizers have clearly defined the boundaries of the entries, and there will be no "humans" and "AI" competing in the same field. situation, perfectly avoiding the red line of artists.

But in September last year, an award-winning work generated by AI did not seem to be so harmonious, arousing people's anger and a bit of panic.

The invincible AI brings the despair of "dimensionality reduction strike"

At the 2022 Art Fair in Colorado, the United States, a painting called "Space Opera" finally won the championship in the digital art category. Jason Allen, a 39-year-old game designer, used the AI ​​drawing tool Midjourney mentioned above to create and won the first place.

Although there was overwhelming denunciation of the organizer, author and AI technology on the Internet, the outcome has been decided. The anger can only be vented hoarsely through the Internet, and behind the all-consuming shouts, apart from the content of the work, there is more. The second panic about "technological Leviathan" .

7 years ago, Li Sedol, the "undefeated boy" in the Go world, lost to AlphaGo 1-4 in a five-game battle; 6 years ago, the talented boy Ke Jie, who had won the world for three years, was defeated in three consecutive battles with AlphaGo. Win three games and get a clean sheet.

I don’t know how much of a stir these two games caused in the Go world at that time, but at least ordinary people began to feel a little confused about the future, because our competitors many years later may not be around us. carbon-based organisms, but lines of code and strings of instructions. These two failures were like tearing a hole in the real world. The helplessness caused by the invasion of foreign objects is no less than the oppressive feeling given to people by the huge alien flying saucer in the poster of "Independence Day".

Over the years, in areas where AI is good at, there have been almost no cases where humans have won. Even if Li Sedol scored a generous point for the human camp, he would still be surrounded by the horror of "What if the AI ​​lost on purpose?" Atmosphere. In fact, we are not afraid of losing, because the progress of human civilization, two scientific revolutions and three technological revolutions are the great achievements of continuous trial and error and failure. What we are really afraid of is that this constantly improving new technology will fundamentally negate all the efforts we have made as human beings.

The sophons in "The Three-Body Problem" shook the foundation of human physics, just as the current AI technology is subverting our past; to some extent, the suicide of physicist Yang Dong in the book is very similar to the extreme emotions in our hearts today. concrete expression. What no one wants to happen is that in the near future, AI technology will become a force majeure. When facing humans, it will be like the Trisolarans, who said in an understatement, "They are all bugs."

But do we really have no chance?

Clear self-awareness is the panacea for eliminating fear

On April 13 this year, German photography artist Boris Eldagsen declined the Sony World Photography Awards for a simple reason. His work "#电工", like the artists mentioned above, was also generated through AI technology. Eldagsen did not enter the AI ​​​​work to get honors and bonuses. His participation was more like a social experiment, testing the practicality of AI technology and the discrimination level of the organizing committee. In the end, he also came up with his own conclusion.

Through the interview with Eldagsen, we can know that this is a very sober artist. His usual work is to deconstruct and reorganize photographic works, and then use AI to "re-create" them. From 2017 to now, he has been using this method to form his own artistic style, but at the same time he can clearly distinguish the difference between "photography" and "photography".

In fact, ifanr has deeply discussed the impact of AI anchors on the entire industry ecology in previous articles. It is not only the anchor industry that is being challenged, from repetitive tasks such as short video dubbing and copywriting translation to the above-mentioned photographers, writers and composers These creative types of work have become "sunrise industries" in the eyes of artificial intelligence.

When faced with the challenges posed by new technologies, look to Eldagsen for his rational thoughts. Clear "self-examination" and accurate "technical understanding" are Eldagsen's shield against fear, and are also the spear to fight against technological suppression in the current challenge of AI.

From the cracks in the AI ​​wall, we can see the dawn of the future

Let’s break down the troubles that AI technology currently causes us. In addition to the job challenges that have been solved, there are three remaining aspects that are also our biggest concerns:

  • Artificial intelligence art-generating tools raise ethical and copyright concerns.
  • Whether the subject status of human beings in artistic creation has been shaken.
  • Whether machines can produce real art and what art is.

Last week, the Japanese government formally drafted guidelines for the proper use of generative artificial intelligence that generates articles and images, clarifying "algorithm developers" who create basic AI technologies and "service implementers" who provide AI-based services and software. The five major business entities, including enterprises that use AI to conduct business, must share responsibilities and obligations.

New technologies will bring new business formats, and they also require new regulations to supervise restrictions. People's doubts about AI technology are caused to a certain extent by the lag in relevant laws and regulations. Therefore, the answer to the first question is time. Give legislators and law enforcers some time to improve the system. Standardized AI applications will come soon.

For the second question, regarding the debate on the status of the creative subject, we need to go back to the beginning of the article. Photographer Nordenskield generates a competition image by giving AI a textual description. Therefore, in the first international artificial intelligence imaging competition, it is the practical experience of the contestants that makes their "textual description" unique. , and then win the championship.

Among them, AI is a more advanced tool, such as swimming with shark skin, racing cars with streamlined shapes, and sprinting shoes with nails. Because people have better tools, they create better works of art. Midjourney, the artificial intelligence, is a new technology in the process of creating art.

Finally, regarding the nature of art, I would like to answer it using the views of previous generations, which will also serve as the end of this article.

Benjamin of the Frankfurt School mentioned in "Works of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" that art has a "halo" and is unique. Once it is copied technically, the uniqueness will be destroyed, and the "halo" of art will disappear.

Later generations have various explanations for this "uniqueness". I think the most popular way of saying it is that the real value of a work of art is composed of the "technique" on the surface and the "story" behind it. The fundamental reason why generative AI can never produce art, or can never shake people, is that the machine creates 10,000 images, using the same code as its peers, and there will be no "story".

Just like the philosopher Heidegger commented on Van Gogh's famous "Peasant Shoes", with the current capabilities of AI, it is indeed possible to create a more realistic picture and richer details of shoes, but the following pair of distorted old shoes The shoes allow people to see the story behind them through the picture. It may be related to the tragic experience of its author Van Gogh, or it may be that the vicissitudes of the shoes resonate with the audience's own experience, so this painting has become a famous example in the oil painting world. A gem.

The story behind the creation fundamentally affects the value of the artwork, which is an ability that AI cannot understand, let alone obtain.

It is the difference in life experience and experience of each creator that constitutes the vastly different art. It is also because of the differences in life experience and experience that the audience can read a thousand "Shakespeare" and "Mona Lisa" from the same work. .

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