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How AI-Generated Art Challenges Our Understanding of Creativity

Creativity is defined as using our imagination to design or make something–whether that’s crafting an original artwork, creating a new product, or thinking up an innovative solution to a problem.

Companies and brands are fostering innovation with AI-generated content across the sectors. Still, a debate persists about whether a graphic created with a free AI art generator is true creativity and what storytelling through AI images means for our perception of art.

However, a quick glimpse at art history tells us this isn't a new phenomenon. Many contemporary art forms were initially rejected, from conceptual and performance art to now-revered artists such as Picasso and Pollock.

Is AI Art Generation Really Creativity?

AI-generated art only exists with human interaction. An algorithm can interpret and understand our instructions and design a unique image based on our inputs, but without this, it is simply an inactive programme. So, why is it hard to accept that AI artwork could be the latest in a long line of innovations and new ways to approach art design and creation? 

The challenge is that, conventionally, we perceive creativity as a solely human endeavour. AI bucks against that convention by revealing that artwork and creative materials can be generated artificially by utilising computing power and algorithms. Moreover, the impact of AI-generated graphics demonstrates that our traditional understanding of creativity as an activity reserved for people isn’t necessarily correct, and AI is perfectly capable of producing ideas and concepts that are entirely new.

Can AI and Human Creativity Coexist?

One of the fundamental considerations is that AI-generated art cannot replace or supersede human creativity, primarily because even the most advanced algorithm with access to the largest datasets requires prompts or instructions to create. AI augments creative activities by providing enhanced inspiration and tools that expand the possibility of what we can create or how far we can build on our ideas to design something novel.

Approaching AI content generation with an openness to exploring new aspects of our creativity can help leverage the power of technology to broaden what we believe is possible–and go far beyond! As we’ve mentioned, AI artwork relies on human input, from the initial machine learning via data inputs to the intensive training process through to the prompts used to begin image creation.

Algorithms are designed and updated by developers and require data or interaction with a human operator to be used, rather than a standalone module that produces artwork or graphics independently. Even where AI tools can automate creativity based on the datasets they have been trained in, the dataset will initially be curated and input by a human rather than selected by the algorithm itself.

What Is the Difference Between Artwork Creation and Generation?

A core contrast between an artist's creative process and the process by which an algorithm develops a graphic is the emotional input behind it. Great art is engaging and compelling, drawing on the artist's talent to communicate with the viewer without words. AI-generated artwork isn't created from a place of emotion but can convey those human traits if the user provides the right input phraseology to tell the algorithm what theme or tone they’d like their art to have.

AI generates an image, using its knowledge and machine learning to follow the instructions provided. In contrast, a human will create an artwork intuitively or based on a concept only they can see. There is a fine line between content generation and creation, but a person can use AI to help expand on their ideas as a practical generation tool to bring their creative inspiration to life.

Is AI-Generated Art Original?

The topic of originality is fiercely debated. Although AI artwork generators can create unique graphics, they are trained on pre-existing content, which means they learn from huge datasets of mediums, visuals and styles. Much depends on your interpretation of originality and how users leverage AI ethically to avoid copying or replicating an artist's flair and technique.

A caveat exists here, too, because artists have always been influenced by others, and almost every creative professional has developed an approach with external influence–whether subtle or a major contributing factor to their body of work.

In the meantime, there is enough evidence to suggest that, while AI-generated art does not conform to our conventional perception of creativity, there is a robust argument that it is simply a case of adjusting our view and expanding what we accept as a creative medium.

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