While many artists and creators see AI as a threat and fear its ability to take over their jobs, German artist Boris Eldgesen Sees AI as a collaborator.
“I think there is enough space in the arts for any approach and any tool,” Eldugson told Salon in a WhatsApp interview.
Eldgsson put this to the test. Last December, he submitted his AI-generated picture “The Electrician,” part of the Pseudomnesia series, to the Sony World Photography Awards (SWPA). The haunting black and white photo shows two women of different generations, the older one behind the younger one. What appeared to be electrical wires hanging from above.
“The Electrician” won, but Eldhosen realized that Sony had not publicly acknowledged that the work was generated by artificial intelligence in any of its promotional materials or signage. The artist submitted the image to deliberately spark a discussion about the future of AI-generated work in the world of photography, and once accepted, SWPA reported on his use of AI and his desire to share that fact.
So, at the show’s opening ceremony earlier this month in London, Eldhosen appeared to publicly decline the award and start the conversation on his own.
“They don’t want to talk about the nature of that photo. They just don’t care.”
“We, the world of images, need an open discussion. A discussion about we want to consider photography and what not. Is the umbrella of photography big enough to invite AI images in — or would that be a mistake?” Eldgsson said during his impromptu speech. “With my refusal of the award, I hope to speed up this discussion.”
The conversation is becoming increasingly important as AI becomes more integrated into the creation of news and other media.
Last month, Buzzfeed began publishing AI-generated quizzes and articles under the title “Buzzy the Robot.” Thursday, it was announced that Buzzfeed is shutting down their news department and, According to CBS, and laid off 15% of jobs across the company. Buzzfeed has denied that any jobs are being replaced by AI.
And after January Report from Futurism That tech news outlet CNET has published about 73 AI-generated articles, and layoffs have begun at that company, too. Last month , futuristic It reported that 50% of CNET’s news and video staff had been laid off, but the company denied that AI had any involvement in that decision.
Check out the rest of the interview with Eldagsen, who addresses the need to clearly define AI creations for the sake of art and journalism.
The following has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Why do you think this particular photo won out from the one I submitted?
Because it has all the qualities a work of art needs. He needs an openness, a certain mystery, and touches you on different levels – emotionally and intellectually. And art, in my opinion, does not convey a message. So, the question “What does the artist want to tell us?” It is completely wrong, in my opinion. It is much better to ask about the effect [the artwork has] Ali as a viewer. What is the emotional impact, and what kind of memories and thoughts are triggered? Am I attracted to her? Is he pushing me away? It is a journey within. And good artwork can give motivation to do that, and I think a picture gives that motivation. And at this level it is not so important how it was produced.
Image created by AI titled “Pseudomnesia: The Electrician” (Boris Eldgesen)What did Sony have to do to accept the award and why?
I think they have two options. One of the options was saying, well, you fooled us as soon as you hand over the photo [and] Don’t tell us what it was. But you have a point. I found a weak point, and we’ll talk about it. What do we need to change for future regulations? Is it a good idea to mix AI-generated images and photography into one category? I do not think so. If they just had a Zoom or one online meet up that would be fine. . .
What I thought was completely wrong was that if, after the press release, the press inquired about my picture – if it was AI or not – it did not answer with a yes or no. They just sent a generic “blah blah”, keep it open. Not even using the term AI not even telling me they didn’t use my statement. I think that’s the point that changed a lot, because I realized they didn’t want to talk about the nature of that photo. they do not care. And the difference between photography and AI-generated images doesn’t exist for them.
But I think for the photography community it’s very important to know [everyone] It’s not the same thing. And for me, it is also very important. And you have to keep in mind, I love photography. I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I love working with AI – I’ve been doing it every day for a year now.
“It’s a technological revolution. It will destroy jobs, and it will create new jobs.”
You have chosen to work with artificial intelligence, stating that for you it is a “co-creation” in which you are the “director”. What are your thoughts on the concerns some artists/creators have about AI taking over the creative fields?
I think one of the concerns I share is with the training materials. We need to take a closer look at the legislation – if training materials can still be allowed to be used without asking the copyright holders. There should be an option to opt out or opt out. and photographers who fear losing jobs—well, they feel it; it will happen. There is nothing more to say about it. It is a technical revolution. Jobs will be destroyed, and new ones will be created. Those threatened jobs, and the people who fill them, it’s a terrible situation. Because once you realize there’s nothing you can do against it, you can basically try to find a new job and start over. And who would like to do that if you love what you do?
Boris Eldgesen turns down the Sony World Photography Award at the ceremony (Petra Gerwers)You differentiate between images you create yourself and images generated by artificial intelligence, aka “The Wave,” The term you say was coined by Christian Vincis. What kind of space do you see for the two of them in the art world?
I believe in the arts there is enough room for any approach and any tool. We just have to be clear that things are produced differently and have different names. It’s just some kind of structure. The painting is not a sculpture, and the drawing is not a performance. Most of the time.
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Some AI-generated images went viral before yours (Trump in handcuffs, Pope in a puffer jacket). While this stuff is certainly fun, what do you see as the broader ramifications when it comes to what audiences might mistake for reality?
I think it is very necessary for the news [and] Tap to differentiate between original, manipulated, or created images. If you show those funny pictures of the pope in [a] Puffer jacket without any comment, people will believe it happened. And if I say, now, we can [in]Lest that happen – so what after five years? in 10 years? In 50 years? What will remain? What kind of history should be rewritten? I think we need to come up with a clear system that the press adheres to. And we need to support the press in creating a structure for fact-checking, doing the work of photo editors, which takes a lot of time, and which costs more than nominal magazines can afford. But I think that we as citizens of a democratic state and the democratic state itself, we must devise a structure where this is jointly funded. I think it is very important not to give up the fight with this information.
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