As AI art generators take the world by storm, some people wonder if it should count as art at all. The technology is still evolving and has some wrinkles to iron out, but some companies are ready to take a chance with artificial intelligence-generated art.

Shutterstock, a photo licensing service, will start selling images generated by artificial intelligence alongside art created by humans. The AI images will be powered exclusively by Shutterstock’s partnership with OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 software

Although Shutterstock was one of the several photo agencies that began removing AI-generated art from their archives over the last month, the company believes that AI art is the future. 

The AI art will produce pictures that have been uploaded to Shutterstock's archives rather than art found anywhere online. This will allow both companies to create art in an “ethical way.” 

A spokesperson from the company told New Scientist that the company would “continue to ban people generally from uploading AI-generated art to its platform,” since the company deems that use of the technology as unethical. The two companies will also launch the Shutterstock Contributor Fund to “compensate artists for their contributions'' and provide royalties when an artist’s intellectual property is used. 

“When the work of many contributed to the creation of a single piece of AI-generated content, we want to ensure that the many are protected and compensated (instead of allowing an individual to generate and take full credit for that content),” the Shutterstock spokesperson said.

Ai_generated_artJason Allen’s A.I.-generated work, 'Théâtre D’opéra Spatial'Credit: Jason Allen

Is AI art "real" art? 

While this is a big move for Shutterstock to make, some artists are not too happy. Although AIs can create art, based on the simple definition of what art is, some people don’t believe AI can make art because it lacks emotion and “creativity.” 

“I work a lot with photo manipulation art. I pay fees for licensing and use completely royalty-free images,” Adrian Alexander Median, editor of the literary website and magazine Aphotic Realm, told New Scientist. “If websites like Shutterstock and others that offer licensed assets for graphic design use start allowing AI into their libraries, it’ll be akin to having sewer water leak into the drinking supply.”

Medina, who also creates book covers, says he has lost three potential clients to AI-generated art since the start of October. He believes that the AIs create a risk of ostracizing photographers and illustrators. 

AI art is inspired by manipulating already existing art. Everything has already been created, but artists—real or not real—find unique ways to bring the subject to life in a new way. Unlike many people who only mention the inspiration behind their work, Shutterstock and OpenAI are attempting to compensate the artists whose work is used. 

Whether or not this attempt works, we believe Shutterstock is taking a chance on the new technology that is being integrated into the creative world while still respecting human artists. Although this does make it harder for some artists to find work, I don't believe AI can replace humans and their ability to create emotionally compelling works. 

What do you think of Shutterstock using AI-generated art? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! 

Source: New Scientist