In the United States, the first prize in an art competition rewarded a rather particular painting. It was indeed developed by an artificial intelligence (AI) capable of generating visuals from a group of words. On the web, the case is causing a real controversy.
An award for the work of an AI
This year during the Colorado State Fair, the Digital Arts and Photography category rewarded the painting entitled Space Opera Theater. But this last is not the fruit of human labor. In reality, it is the work of an artificial intelligence, as reported by the New York Times in an article from September 2, 2022. As evidenced the tweet belowvideo game creator Jason Allen wanted to communicate about the work.
TL; DR — Someone entered an art contest with an AI-generated work and won first prize.
Yeah that’s really shitty. pic.twitter.com/vjn1IdJcsL
— General Jumalon ✈️ Collect-A-Con (@GenelJumalon) August 30, 2022
The person concerned explains that he used the Midjourney artificial intelligence system. The AI would have worked for several hours before offering him hundreds of different works. After reviewing them, Jason Allen selected three to submit to the Colorado State Fair.
The particularity of Midjourney is its ability to generate visuals from a group of words. The latter is therefore somewhat reminiscent of the Story2Hallucination tool which, in 2015, had enabled computer scientist Glenn Marshall to win the Prix Ars Electronica with a representation of the poem. In the middle of dark winter by the British Christina Rossetti.
A controversy over an isolated case
Since Jason Allen released the work, many people have issued social media reviews. The game creator believes that he did not violate the morality of the contest rules by presenting himself as an author with the mention “Jason Allen via Midjourney”. Furthermore, the contest organizers did not withdraw the prizesign that there does not seem to be a problem. These indicated that the method used was regulatory and that the creator was simply smarter.
Critics believe that rewarding a computer production in this way completely distorts the competition. So it seems the art world is clinging to a kind of typically human inspiration that the machine could not apprehend. In the world of games, the AI has however struck down the human many times (chess, game of Go, etc.) but at the time no complaint castigated the algorithms.
This kind of case involving an AI in an art competition remains an isolated case. On the other hand, it could well be that gradually, the world of creation will take the decision to more strictly regulate the contribution of AI. If necessary, it will simply be necessary to accept this new competition.