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Artificial Certainly, “Intelligent”? I Wonder…

I’ve been thinking a lot about Artificial Intelligence so called “ART”


Many people who have never actually made any art are now proliferating AI generated images online and some go as far as calling their product “Photography” or “Painting & Illustration“.

It is a source of great pain to the actual practitioners of these skills who have spent perhaps the major part of their adult lives honing their craft, only to see these upstarts come in and sell what is in effect a mishmash of other peoples images sampled and barely understood by an algorithm. As a professional photographer and graphic designer for the last 43 years, having achieved a degree of expertise in these crafts, I am irked by the pretenders.

I was working with digital images almost from the very beginning of the “digital revolution“. I dare say I have a proven track record in both traditional and electronic arts, for a significant number of years. At the same time I have always been excited by new tech in my work…


So here’s the dilemma.

Is it licit for giant tech businesses to misappropriate, in effect steal,
the work of professionals to “train” their algorithms and allow the public to use them
without the express consent of the artists they have stolen from, so shamelessly!?


The internet, which at first seemed like an incredible tool for building an ever better future by democratising the processes of communication in the arts, sciences, technology, news et al, has now become the largest repository of images and texts by experts and non-experts, liars and charlatans and all other manner of actual useful data, as well as such madly fake nonsense that it has perhaps become more burdensome than useful; not to mention in many cases outright dangerous.

One major damage that it has done though is the blurring of boundaries of ownership of intellectual property.

This has meant that over the years digital presence has become very important, if not mandatory, for artists of all kinds. Because of the way web technology works it has meant that whole massive portfolios of original artwork are now freely accessible by all and sundry. This in turn has meant that protecting ones creations has become nigh on impossible.

In this sense the invention of AI is the latest and possibly the most damaging to the rights of artists and creators. The situation was already nearly critical with the free-for-all of social media and the proliferation of stolen work and hacked portfolios, plagiarism of the most heinous kind was already rife. AI is even more insidious than all its predecessors for the thefts and incursions on the rights of artists. It is now machines that are being taught to gather proprietary data with impunity, seemingly without any constraints, restrictions or oversight, since they are being “trained‘ by faceless companies and organisations, big and small, racing to develop an ideal AI system.

The people that lose the most from this greying of rights of ownership of intellectual property and copyright are the creators who are being ripped off with no compensation or acknowledgement. There are already many people who are falsely and in my opinion criminally presenting work publicly online and making money from this work that they sell as photography or illustration or painting or whatever the case, while fundamentally fooling the public into believing they are looking at a photograph etc.

Case in point is the recent “confessions” of Jos Avery in an article in the online magazine Ars Technica.

Anyway for now I just want to show a few quick experiments I did with one or two of the free tools online for generating images by means of text prompts into an AI application.


Some of my tests are shown below. I am certain that I will be writing much more about this subject, but for now this will have to do.


These are some of the generated images before I touched them in Photoshop, out of the application as it were.
The B&W set were generated with variations on the set of parameters below:
“Photographic head shot man photorealist black and white, high resolution analogue, bokeh, detailed eyes, three point lighting, Hollywood style 1940s, very grainy film, atmospheric, bad skin three quarter view, strong back light”


Same set as before but after quite a good deal of work in Photoshop trying to get closer to the sort of Hollywood Studio photos I was trying to emulate.


The first in the set is as created by the application. The rest are progressions of the same image with more and more manipulation in Photoshop.
This image was generated with the parameters below:
“A woman in a long white dress in neo-classical style in Roman villa with many columns”


This set was created in another application, Night Café. Here I am showing the imges as made by the app, then the manipulated versions. In this set I was checking to see how it would render in illustrative rather than photographic style.
This image was generated with the parameters below:
“Head and shoulders of a Beautiful woman with long curly hair green eyes”

Images: Created in the free Lexica & Night Café online applications, and massively enhanced, and graphic designed in Photoshop by me
Vishy Moghan © 2023

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