We're truly fortunate to be experiencing this golden age of technology. Gone are the days when students slaved away over final term papers – now a swift ChatGPT session can save the day. But the magic doesn't stop at essays; they can now also make 'art'. But here's the thing: for as long as we remember, art has been a human-only activity. We learned to make art before we started writing. Our essence is woven into every piece of art we deem authentic. R.S. Mellette says: "Art is what makes us human." But if what makes us human is replicable by machines, where do humans come into this? As it stands now, humanity is slowly becoming obsolete, easily replicated by machine.

When the AI art craze kicked off over a year back, a tweet made the rounds quipping, "AI can whip up gorgeous portraits, but it'll never capture the soul." Fast forward a few days, and there it was – a stunning digital artwork going viral in X (Twitter). It was met with oohs and aahs from artists and laymen alike, all blissfully unaware that it was the brainchild of AI.

We have a tradition of labeling our passions as 'art.' The art of living, the art of talking, the subtle art of not giving a f*ck, the art of being stoic, the art of doom scrolling, the art of catching chickens, the art of drinking—everything is an art if you dedicate enough time and expertise to it.

At the heart of each art form, there's an artist, driven by passion. They might be inspired by love for a person, a pursuit, or simply the need to convey their deepest feelings. That's where the love story begins, doesn’t it? That love is evident, even in something as simple as a stick figure on a page – it’s the effort that infuses its significance. And that's why AI creations can't truly be termed as "art." True art is irrevocably tied to the human experience, something that's beyond mere mimicry by machines, no matter how aesthetically pleasing the end result.

This squashes the argument that AI makes art more 'accessible'. Making art has always been within anyone's reach - all you need is a pen and paper. The elitist narrative of artistic gatekeeping that AI enthusiasts push is only applicable to the select few. The truth is, artists are often at the bottom of the pay scale, hence the stereotype of 'the hungry artists.' Those who opt for art as a career often find themselves at odds with family and friends, contending with skepticism for choosing a path criticized as financially unviable, all driven by their love for their craft.

Despite this, artists have had to fight to be seen above the noise of algorithmic content moderated for an overstimulated audience. Artists are the prime victims of plagiarism and the illegal use of their artwork in training these large generative AI models. As if that's not enough, they also face constant slander from people who couldn't be bothered to grab a pen and paper.

It's a message that sneers at struggling artists, implying their irrelevance against this unyielding machine. This brash confidence of AI being able to churn out endless creations in an instant, seems shortsighted. Have they not pondered that if AI can replace artists, every profession is replaceable? We stand on the dawning of obsolescence, a fate even the most visionary sci-fi tales failed to predict.

AI enthusiasts adhere to the notion that Art is a commodity, created solely to gratify an audience, a capitalist perspective ingrained in their ethos. Instead of leveraging technology to alleviate human toil, they opt to oust workers, to further enrich their pockets. But someday, AI would streamline lining pockets too, and then even CEOs would be irrelevant. Today, AI prompters already spar over 'stolen prompts'. This unrestrained pursuit of profit spells a perilous road ahead.

Art isn't just a commodity; it's an active, evolving process. While one may argue that prompting AI to create art counts as an activity, can it truly match the dedication and struggle of a human artist? The act of creation involves more than just clicks and prompts; it encompasses tireless hours honing skills, grappling with self-doubt, and infusing soul into every stroke, brushstroke, or pixel.

Let’s be clear: human art will remain in demand, yet the surging influence of genAI is unmistakably altering the art landscape. Casual buyers may opt to generate their own images rather than engage with artists, impacting market dynamics. Despite this, the craft will persist as a realm of appreciation. Consequently, human-made art might evolve into a more exclusive, opulent- niche, sought after by the affluent to distinguish their taste from commoners. Human art won't vanish; rather, it will contend within intensified competition. Artists struggling to make ends meet may increasingly move to other jobs for sustenance.

The issue lies in purposefully using technology to exploit, suppress, and further burden an already weary community. Turning art into a mere commodity dehumanizes the artist, diluting the love and labor invested in each piece. For example, using the late Kim Jung Gi's works to train AI and reproduce his style devalues a person as if their worth is solely tied to their creations. However, Mr. Kim's impact goes beyond his art—his influence, expertise, and passion have inspired countless individuals in the art world, constituting his true legacy.

Yet, there may be a way to navigate the conflict between artists and technology. Some artists have embraced AI as part of their creative process. I've encountered artists using localized AI like Stable Diffusion, training it on their own work to enhance their creative flow. Novice artists employ genAI to conjure poses and spark ideas for their next creation. Personally, I've found captivating AI-generated images on Pinterest, often drawing inspiration for my own pieces. Many aspiring artists use AI-generated art to grasp diverse principles.

In the end, the contention against AI stems from devaluing artists. While AI can produce rapidly, it lacks the depth of human experience, love, and endurance embedded in art by artists facing life's struggles, infusing their work with unique beauty.

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