Human Art Is NOT In Danger

It seems each day a new technology is released or a new concept unveiled that shatters our preconceived notions of what’s possible in this world, and Artificial Intelligence is currently at the forefront of this. Many people believe that the up-and-coming A.I. technology of the 2020s shows potential for replacing jobs and roles formerly thought to be requiring a Human. They cite the ever-improving model of “Machine Learning” as proof that, after vast time collecting knowledge of our world, the day of A.I. taking over is not a work of science fiction. 

In addition to the possibility of redundant human tasks being replaced, the most counterintuitive implication of this new technology is A.I. replacing the role of the Human Artist. AI is able to outperform humans on nearly all tasks that it is assigned, what makes art so different? My argument that Art is something strictly bound to humans and that A.I. can never fully replace human artists is an increasingly controversial one in today’s society and faces a strong rebuttal, however, the claims made by those who support A.I. Artists are founded on fundamentally erroneous concepts. 

The direct rebuttal to my claim that A.I. could never replace artists is obvious: Yes, A.I. indeed DOES show potential for replacing human-created art as a medium. In the International Journal of Education and Management, author Rubio Yang points out that “according to John Pugliano, an American investment finance expert and author of The Robots are Coming, ‘any routine and predictable job is likely to be replaced by artificial intelligence in the next five to ten years.’ Some artists expressed concern about this phenomenon, they pointed out that maybe artificial intelligence will replace artists in the future.” A more doomsday outlook is heard from arguably one of the smartest scientists in history, Dr. Stephen Hawking, who once said future developments in AI “could spell the end of the human race.” But in relation to specifically AI Art replacing Human Art, I find this to be erroneous. 

This is by far not the first time a new technology has threatened previous art forms. To name two out of a vast list of examples: the invention of photography threatened painted artwork, and the advent of streaming music threatened the physical music medium. These inventions both disrupted the status quo and caused artists and art purveyors to be up in arms, much like people predict about A.I., however, we see now that the threat of these technologies fully replacing their predecessors has been proven false. There will always be appreciation for painted artwork, according to Google, as of 2022 there were “somewhere in the region of 15,000 art galleries in the US”. There will also always be a following for physical media despite the digital revolution. According to the U.S. 2022 Luminate Year-End Music Report, “In 2022, sales of albums on cassette tape in the U.S. increased by 28% to 440,000”. Taylor Swift recently released an album on cassette tape, thought to be an absolutely dead and “replaced” medium of art. 

Scientists and scholars alike contest that artificially intelligent artists can produce work that exhibits originality and true uniqueness. Those who argue this claim the algorithms are so advanced now that A.I. work isn’t simply a compilation of previous art, but is the byproduct of “true” creation, indistinguishable from that of humans. In an essay published by the University of Guelph in Ontario titled GAN Computers Generate Arts, the author explains how “Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) use deep learning archi-tectures to facilitate generative modeling. In this approach, the goal of the model is to generate new examples of data that would not be distinguishable by humans as data coming from the real set. This is achieved upon successful training where the adversarial network can identify patterns in the data and learn the distribution of the dataset.” Author Sakib Shahriar is telling us that A.I. Art algorithms, referred to as “GANs”, are technologically capable of producing “new examples of data”, otherwise known as “new art”.

While the technology is scientifically proven, the originality of A.I.-created works is a heavily debated topic, especially among human artists who believe their intellectual property is being directly stolen and compiled without their consent. Within the past few months of 2023 artists and art, platforms have gone as far as to take legal action against A.I. companies regarding this issue. In January 2023 Getty Images, one of the world’s largest media hosting companies containing 477 million human-created assets, filed a lawsuit against the art generator company Stability AI. In a press release directly from Getty Images on the day of the filing, the company stated that “Stability AI infringed intellectual property rights including copyright in content owned or represented by Getty Images. It is Getty Images’ position that Stability AI unlawfully copied and processed millions of images.” The company goes on to say how they’ve already given several A.I. companies legal access to their database for the purposes of training their algorithms, in an effort to further A.I. research. However, in this case, “Stability AI did not seek any such license from Getty Images and instead, we believe, chose to ignore viable licensing options.”

Just like if a music artist uses a sample of a previous song in his track, any art that contains direct elements of previous intellectual property must be used legally and with credit given to the original creator. An example of this can be found in MC Hammer’s bold use of Rick James’ Super Freak in his own U Can’t Touch This, which contains a repeated line of music from James’ song. Rick James filed a lawsuit against MC and eventually settled the dispute outside of court when MC agreed to credit James as a songwriter. The use of A.I. involves performing the same task, admittedly on a much larger scale with abundant data, which raises the question of whether it is actually creating anything new or if it is simply compiling human creations, acquired legally and sometimes illegally. The resulting works may be indistinguishable when mixed using A.I., but “indistinguishable” is just A.I.’s disguise for “not original”.

It’s clear to see how art forms and methods are very often threatened but prove to never fully be overtaken. The truth will be the same for Human Art, as it is threatened by A.I. Art.


Shahriar, S. (2022). GAN computers generate arts? a survey on visual arts, music, and literary text generation using generative adversarial network. Displays, 102237.

Getty Images Statement. (2023, January 17). Getty Images Statement. Getty Images Press Site – Newsroom – Getty Images.

Yang, R. Are the Artists no Longer Needed in the AI Age?. International Journal of Education and Management, 274.

Ana Santos Rutschman. (2018, March 15). Stephen Hawking warned about the perils of artificial intelligence – yet AI gave him a voice. The Conversation.

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