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Why I Don’t Like A.I. Art

I don’t like A.I. art because it sucks.

Sorry to be puerile.

I’m not talking today about the economic and moral reasons why writers, actors and other creatives are up in arms about being replaced by A.I. Not that I don’t care (it’s very important), but I don’t feel like engaging in the deep thought to do it justice.

I just mean that whenever I encounter A.I. art, for a second I’m like, “That’s amazing”—but then I quickly get fed up because there’s no “there there.”

I don’t mean to be Dr. Pulaski insulting Data, either. If it was good, I’d say so.

There’s a YouTube channel I stumbled across called Abandoned Films, which is a series of A.I.-created trailers reimagining famous franchises as 1950s epics:

Now, this is a cool idea. And probably the best use of A.I. I can imagine, artistically.

But I have to say, as tickled as I was to see my favorite movies reinterpreted this way—and as much as I “got” how various iconic images, characters and designs were transformed—I found that each trailer seemed to take forever.

And I quickly lost interest in watching them.

Here’s an interesting article about Gareth Edwards’ experimenting with an A.I. score to The Creator (given its subject matter). He tried to use it to make an “A.I. Hans Zimmer” score, which came out a “7 out of 10,” but ended up hiring Hans for a real Hans Zimmer score.

I’m not saying anything that we don’t already know and feel: A.I. can do an incredible job emulating form, structure and even content.

But it just doesn’t have any taste. It doesn’t have real inspiration. It’s not human—because it’s not alive.

An excellent point by Roy Batty! We aren’t just data, but organic creatures who live in the real world and have all our experiences and memories shaped by our physical existence.

So I personally am not at all worried about A.I. replacing me. It can’t do what I do: synthesize a lifetime of stupid experiences into a mildly diverting blog column.

However, in writing this, I have become self-conscious about whether or not A.I. could have done it. Some parts of it, sure.

But here’s a part that I think only I could have come up with—because I thought of an example that just popped into my brain (just like that Blade Runner line).

There’s a kind of “fake museum” in Culver City called The Museum of Jurassic Technology. It’s a little hard to explain: it’s curated like a real museum, but features pseudo-science and folklore and poetry. It’s cool, but basically nonsense.

I was brought there “cold” 20 year ago, and tried hard to make sense of it...until I realized I couldn’t. Finally I was like, “Oh, I get it—it’s like, what if Andy Kaufman made a gag museum?”

Anyway, that’s what A.I. art reminds me of. It feels real, but doesn’t add up to anything.

The “MJT” does it as a kind of performance art. But for A.I., it’s not a joke. That’s just what it is.

I do believe A.I. will be an incredible tool, and people are just beginning to figure out how to use it.

But for now, I find it fake and annoying.

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Thanks for this, I just stumbled on one of those trailers myself, and had a similar reaction. My problem with AI is this: it gives people with clever ideas the feeling that they are “artists” by instigating something interesting. But ideas are cheap—-the value in art is in its execution. And AI can’t execute artistry, it’s just a stunt like a dog walking on its hind legs. Cute idea, so what?

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