Artist Ai Weiwei says AI-replicable art is ‘meaningless’; Talks up Picasso, Matisse

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Artificial intelligence (AI) was the buzzword of 2023, with rapid developments taking place throughout the year. From AI chatbots to AI tools that can be used for various purposes including image generation, code interpretation, multi-modal search, and more, the incorporation of AI has been expeditious. However, it has not been all smooth sailing so far. The same AI development has also led to deepfakes and AI-powered cybercrimes. This has led to various debates over AI governance and the need for AI regulations. One area where AI has had an impact but hasn’t gotten much attention is art. Courtesy of multi-modal developments and programs such as Midjourney, AI has the potential to replicate art pieces with sheer accuracy. However, that would be meaningless, according to a Chinese artist.

AI-replicable art

In a conversation with the Guardian, Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei said that art that is easily replicated by AI is “meaningless”. The artist further highlighted that if legendary artists such as Pablo Picasso and others existed in the era of AI, they would have had to change their approach towards art. Weiwei said, “I’m sure if Picasso or Matisse were still alive they will quit their job. It’d be just impossible for them to still think [in a similar fashion].”

This isn’t the first time that an artist has spoken their mind on AI’s impact on art. A class-action lawsuit was filed by Tennessee-based artist Kelly McKernan along with Sarah Andersen and Karla Ortiz against AI-image generators including Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and DreamUp. McKernan found that their name was being fed into AI-image generators to create artworks in their style.

Talking about the issue, Weiwei said, “That’s not a problem. I think that kind of art should [have died] a long time ago. It takes AI a second to do it. So that only means what they have learned very often is meaningless.”

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