People consider creativity to be inherently human. However, artificial intelligence (AI) has reached the stage where it can be creative as well.
A recent competition attracted anger from artists after it awarded a prize to an artwork created by an AI model known as Midjourney. And such software is now freely available thanks to the release of a similar model called Stable Diffusion, which is the most efficient of its kind to date.
Unions of creative practitioners such as Stop AI Stealing the Show have for some time been raising concerns about the use of AI in creative fields. But could AI actually replace human artists?
These new AI models can produce endless possibilities. Each image of the robots shown above are unique, yet are generated by Stable Diffusion from similar user requests.
There are two ways to use these AI artists: write a short text prompt, or provide an image alongside the prompt to give more guidance. From a 14-word prompt, I was able to generate several logo ideas for a made-up company that delivers fruit. In just under 20 minutes. On my mid-range laptop.
The potential of this technology hasn’t gone unnoticed – the startup responsible for Stable Diffusion, Stability AI, is targeting a US$1 billion (£900 million) investment evaluation. But these AI models are beginning to have an impact in the real world, as seen with the prize-winning Midjourney picture. Indeed where AI really excels is producing pieces of fine art that combine different elements and styles.
Yet while AI may do most of the legwork for you, using these models still requires skill. Sometimes a prompt doesn’t generate quite the image that you wanted. Or the AI can be used alongside other tools, only making up a small part of a larger pipeline.
And generating fine art is different to producing digital designs. Stable Diffusion is better at drawing landscapes than logos.