Gen AI and Photography to Art

Weekly I/O#68

Generative AI is to digital art as photography was to traditional art. The value of having good ideas grows when new technology lowers the need for technical skills.


Photography revolutionized traditional art in the 19th century by surpassing painting's ability to capture reality with unmatched precision. It made certain art forms less relevant as the camera could achieve better results. Therefore, art forms like impressionism emerged, prioritizing ideas over realistic representation and blurring the line between artists and philosophers.

Likewise, generative AI can have a similar influence on digital artwork. When MidJourney first started gaining traction, I talked to Miguel about its impact on digital arts. With the new technology, the idea matters more than ever. The bottleneck in digital art creation transitions from mastering technical skills for implementation to conceiving the idea itself. The actualization of ideas becomes less significant.

However, this doesn't mean skills become irrelevant. Just as Mondrian had to learn to paint naturalistic landscapes before pioneering Neoplasticism with his iconic Composition with Red Blue and Yellow, skills serve as a foundation for transcending their limitations. You have to learn the rule before you can break it.

Composition with Red Blue and Yellow

Composition with Red Blue and Yellow

Photography and generative AI share other similarities too. Both faced skepticism when they first came out, questioning whether they could truly be considered 'art'. Yet, just as photography expanded art's definition, generative AI will push boundaries and offer new creative avenues.

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