new products often That comes with a disclaimer, but artificial intelligence firm OpenAI issued an unusual warning in April when it released a new service called DALL-E 2. The system can generate vivid photos, paintings and illustrations from a line or line of text. Uploaded image. Part of OpenAI’s release notes warns that “the model may improve the efficiency of performing certain tasks, such as photo editing or the production of stock photos, which could replace the work of designers, photographers, models, editors and artists.”
So far, this has not been achieved. Early access to DALL-E found that it enhanced human creativity, not made it obsolete. In fact, it has boosted his productivity, says artist Benjamin Von Wong, who creates installations and sculptures. “The DALL-E is a great tool for someone like me who can’t draw,” says Von Wong, who uses the tool to explore ideas that can later be incorporated into physical artwork. “Without sketching concepts, I can simply generate them with different prompt phrases.”
DALL-E is one of many new AI tools for generating images. Artist and designer Aza Raskin used open-source software to generate a music video for musician Zia Cora, which was shown at the TED conference in April. The project helped him believe that image-generating artificial intelligence would trigger an explosion of creativity that could permanently change the human visual environment. “Anything that has visuals has visuals,” he said, potentially subverting people’s intuitions about how much time or effort is spent on a project. “Suddenly, we have this tool that makes the unimaginable and the imagined easy to exist.”
It’s too early to know how this transformative technology will ultimately affect illustrators, photographers and other creatives. But at this point, the idea that artistic AI tools will replace workers in creative jobs — like the way robots are sometimes described to replace factory workers — seems overly simplistic. Even for industrial robots that perform relatively simple, repetitive tasks, the evidence is mixed. Some economic research has shown that the adoption of robots by companies leads to lower overall employment rates and wages, but there is also evidence that robots can increase employment opportunities in some cases.
“There’s so much doom and gloom in the art world,” and some people are too prone to think machines can replace human creative work, says digital artist Noah Bradley, who posts YouTube tutorials on using AI tools. Bradley believes the impact of software like DALL-E will be similar to the impact smartphones have had on photography — making visual creativity more accessible without displacing professionals. After generating something for the first time, creating a robust, usable image still requires a lot of careful tweaking, he said. “There’s a lot of complexity in creating art that machines aren’t ready for.”
Released in January 2021, the first version of DALL-E is a milestone in computer-generated art. It shows that machine learning algorithms, provided with thousands of images as training data, can replicate and reorganize features from existing images in novel, coherent, and aesthetically pleasing ways.
A year later, the DALL-E 2 has significantly improved the image quality that can be produced. It also reliably takes on different art styles and produces more realistic images. Want a studio quality photo of a Shiba Inu in a beret and black turtleneck? just type and wait. Steampunk illustration of Castle in the Clouds? no problem. Or a 19th century style painting of a group of women signing the Declaration of Independence? great idea!
Many who have experimented with DALL-E and similar AI tools describe them as a new kind of art assistant or muse, not a replacement. “It’s like talking to aliens,” says Japanese photographer, author and English teacher David R Munson, who has been using DALL-E for the past two weeks. “It’s trying to understand the text cues and feed back to us what it sees, and it just squirms in this amazing way and produces things you really don’t expect.”