I wrote some stuff about NFTs a couple of years back during the frenzy to make and sell them. I was right. It was a bubble and it crashed hard. So I'd like to whip out the crystal ball and make a few observations about AI art after it's been around for a year.
More is not always good. Yes, generate thousands of finely AI rendered images. But it becomes very overwhelming for a viewer to look through it. The use of AI allows prompters to generate thousands of mediocre pieces of art, there might be a good one in that pile, but it's going to be really hard to find and nobody has time for that. The prompter probably doesn't have time for that. It kind of happened with NFTs too, even good artists were lost under a pile of shitty generative and pixel art. And that's the problem, the advantage of AI art is that it's so much more productive than humans, but it's worthless because there is so much of it that even the rare good stuff is hard to find.
AI art is going to have an obvious style. After a while people are going to get used to the tells of AI art and it's going to develop cliches. And as the market gets saturated with AI, everything that looks a certain way is probably going to be viewed as cheap. With the amount of training data required to generate innovation, can AI models keep up with shifting human tastes?
The prompt interface isn't good. What sets a good photographer apart from a rando taking selfies is the ability to see and articulate visually what they are seeing. Often this articulation isn't in words. It's a vague image, or a feeling. Humans aren't even good at taking what is in their minds and articulating it in words. And that is a central problem with a word based interface, it's actually difficult to use. I feel this problem when I have to describe an image in alt text, often I have no idea what words to use to describe an image that I am seeing right in front of me. And this interface exists because the underlying mathematical model is about matching a visual output created from tagged data to a prompt, it's not something that can be fixed easily.
It's shameful. I don't care so much about whether someone uses AI to generate art. And I don't deny that there is an anti-AI pitchfork wielding crowd out there that harass people that use AI tools. But aside from some very annoyingly smug people that make the most generic boring stuff and those creeps making bizarre porn, most people that use AI don't admit that they use AI. They just generate art and claim it's their own watercolor creation or something like that (even when it looks obviously digital). Sometimes they even make "speedpaints" or photoshop themselves painting it. I've never seen a group of artists as ashamed of their own tools before. Proud AI artists are a minority, and they're buried under a pile of cheaply made rubbish.
The three successful use cases so far are ugly ads, porn and stock images. I don't have much to say about this. AI generated images have succeeded at being cheap and/or horny.
A trained artist would be able to make the best use of this technology, but they have been completely alienated by the techbro crowd. When it first came out, the early adopters of AI art were particularly mean spirited to artists and most of their arguments were along the lines of "You're obsolete". This caused a further backlash among artists. But their input is the most valuable in building better more usable tools. I feel like the hubris of the early adopters has set back the field by a decade or so.
It's a niche hobby. People tried it out for a while, but after a few joke prompts the normies got bored and moved on to something else. Press a button, get pretty picture. It's convenient and it saves you from the anguish of actually trying to make art. A bit more like a slot machine than really being creative. But fine tuning prompt tags isn't for everyone. Does it have the universal appeal of scribbling something with a pencil? Again this relates to the interface.
Based on what I'm seeing, AI art is here to stay. But it isn't the end for artists or human made art either. Some things are going to change, especially with art professionals being replaced by cheaper generative art. But it's not the revolution that prompters claim that it is.