Until recently I’ve never sweated any of this talk about how automation will replace humans in the workforce. But the rise of artificially intelligent, procedurally generated art has shook me to the core. Now because some fucking nerds decided to streamline the process of artistic expression for the means of generating easy content, thousands of creatives’ careers are veering towards being irrelevant at the click of a button.
While this new “form” of art may have triggered no less than three existential crises within the last week, there is one piece of the artistic experience AI could never replicate: getting a wildly expensive art degree and then spending six years working as a barista.
I suppose the one valid criticism is that AI generated art rides the coattails of the work that actual artists have created inasmuch as I have relied on my parents to pay my rent, but the similarities stop there. Other than that, I have absolutely no respect for anyone who thinks typing “Basquiat + boobs” into a website has any more value than my ability to put smiley faces in customer’s lattes.
I would bet my next paycheck that the clowns who created these programs have never stepped foot into a museum, let alone the museum coffee shop where I work. They would never understand the toil and sacrifice it takes to make a single piece of fine art or the crushing weight of trying to pay student loans for a degree with what seems like three open positions at any given time. Now that I think about it, maybe I wouldn’t bet my whole paycheck since I just got kicked off my dad’s cell phone plan.
Look, any job should hold some modicum of dignity to it. At least that’s what I tell myself when I look in the mirror each morning at 4 AM after I’ve been grinding coffee beans before you assholes wake up. I’m fine with my life choices and my student loans, but I’ll be damned if all that time I spent taking commissioned art of pregnant Sonic characters on Fivver was for nothing because an algorithm can do it faster and also not want to wretch.
I’ll respect AI art generators when I see Pixray froth milk for 11 hours straight for yoga moms who make comments about its piercings and then tries to cram six hours of studio time into a two hour window. Until then, the only thing it’s good for is making me wish I just went to culinary school.