For the past 6 months or thereabouts there has been a lot of chatter online about the A.I.-powered tools like MidJourney, Dream, and DALL•E2 that generate art from text prompts. Type in the subject, type in a style of art or an artist’s name, pat your head while you rub your belly, and wham-bam you get an image. There have been articles about A.I. art here and there for the last few years but the new beta-apps have brought the subject to the forefront. I don’t pretend to know diddly-squat about any of it, but do know that the internet was abuzz with passionate supporters, experimenters, and vehement detractors (with plenty of the latter). I was reminded of all the hubbub and debates about digital art and artists when Photoshop, Painter, and ZBrush came along way back when: “How could it be A-R-T? How could they be real artists? A machine does all the work!” Of course that was all hooey then (the artist just used pixels instead of paint): the concerns being voiced now might not be, considering the ways the generators have supposedly been trained and how they’ll possibly be used in the future. There are a lot of unanswered moral and legal questions. It might be that A.I. is (or will be) just another tool that an artist might eventually use as they choose and not be the end of life as we know it—or it might be an insidious evil that ultimately hurts everyone. Honestly, at this point there are so many unknowns that I can’t predict what will happen. BUT…it’s always what an artist does with a tool (whatever it is) rather than the tool itself that makes art. Machines don’t.

Maybe. Again, I don’t know and can’t pretend to know what long-term effects these sorts of A.I. programs might have on the arts in the years to come (especially if they somehow become self-aware) so I thought I’d share a couple of videos below that talk about the subject. And then I wanted to ask our Muddy Colors readers: A.I. Art Apps, a good thing or a bad thing? Are you excited, angry, or worried? Please discuss.