Generative AI is where artificial intelligence and creativity meet. AI is everywhere these days, entering almost every industry in one way or another. In many instances, it is for the better, making things easier and more convenient alongside automation. However, not everyone is thrilled about the intrusion of these technologies, especially those who feel their jobs will be taken or impacted. That feeling is now shared by many of those in the creative field as generative AI rears its head.
What is it: Generative AI is quite a broad term, and it refers to artificial intelligence that uses unsupervised or semi-unsupervised machine learning algorithms to create new content from existing content. That includes text, audio, visuals, and anything else it can use to learn and draw “inspiration.”
- Generative AI was largely popularized by text-generating tools like GPT-3. But there has been a lot of improvement as computing power increased, opening up new possibilities. Now, images, audio, and video applications are growing.
AI-generated images: Perhaps one of the most notable uses of generative AI is images. There has been a swarm of AI-based image generators appearing, including DALL-E 2, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion. These have enabled people to create hyper-realistic images with nothing but a few words or lines of text to nudge things in the right direction. Though, the process can get far more complex than that.
- The popularity of these apps is exploding, with DALL-E 2 boasting more than 1.5 million users, and Midjourney’s Discord server having more than three million users. Moreover, DALL-E 2 sees over two million images generated per day.
- AI-generated images are already being used in creative fields, including video games, interior design, advertising, and more.
What it means for creatives: Currently, most people agree that it is not good enough to replace those in the creative field. An interior designer might use it for the initial planning phase to get ideas, but when it comes down to getting the right design for a space or client, things are different. However, not everyone is happy about what could come next.
- Japan’s anime and manga communities are particularly adamant against the technology, with many believing it will cheapen the art form. In their eyes, it is also a way for artists to be ripped off since it copies their style.
- There is also the concern that artists are training for something that can be replicated to great effect by generative AI. It is the same worry plaguing other industries invaded by AI and automation, where it feels as if a job is at stake. Moreover, just like those industries, creative AI will only get better with time.
Controversial creations: Beyond mere dislike, there are some concerns about the legality of AI-generated images. That includes the imagery and metadata, and it has prompted certain platforms to ban content generated by AI.
- There is also concern over pornographic images, which can be created using generative AI. If the images use someone’s likeness, such as with deep fakes, then it could present an entirely new set of problems.
Silicon Valley loves it: While the creative community is torn, Silicon Valley has shown ample support, approaching generative AI in much the same way it did crypto and the metaverse not long ago. That can be seen with the San Francisco Exploratorium a few weeks ago, where Stability AI, the startup behind Stable Diffusion, threw quite the event.
- In part, the event was meant to celebrate the startup’s recent $101 million in funding. However, the focus was on generative AI as a whole, which seems to have investors in a frenzy as the numbers behind the scenes back up the hype.