News and media, in their never-ending quest to get more clicks tend to sensationalize AI-related headlines, proclaiming computers will soon replace artists. I think it’s a faulty argument. Sure, AI can create some nice imagery – but we (human creatives) should not treat it as a threat but as a challenge.

Photography did not kill painting. Theatre did not kill books. Movies did not kill theatre. TV did not kill music.

I see two challenges we need to face off with:

  • As artists and creatives, we need to adapt. We need to learn what the new tools can do, and what they cannot. We need to learn how to harness their capabilities to offload simpler tasks to AI and focus on things only a human can do – surprising, unexpected connections, thinking out-of-the-box, inventing, evolving.
  • We need to be better. If you look carefully, you’ll realize the AI art, while competent, is quite basic. It has a limited visual vocabulary and style. Dall-E 2 will draw all these teddy bears on a skateboard and dogs with pilot goggles on – but it won’t really invent anything new. My approach is to think of AI “art” more like AI “crafts”. Not really high art, or even commercial art, but an equivalent of cheapo hallmark postcards or painting-in-a-minute sidewalk canvases. I look at what AI makes and say to myself: OK, that’s the computer’s bar – I gotta make sure mine is way higher.

There always will be a market for below-the-line art and illustration. Dime-a-dozen, risk-averse, safe stuff where all that matters is quantity, not quality. Cool. Who wants to do that stuff anyway. Let AI handle it.

As designers, artists and creatives, this leaves the “top” half of creative arena to us. It’s the half where we take risks. Where we try new things, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. Where we push the visual (and sonic) vocabulary to new territories.

It’s now, more than ever that we, the humans need to do what we do best – curate, perfect, innovate and discover.

Rant/manifesto over