Art In The Age Of Optimization

02022-12-10 | Art, Computer, Copyright, Internet | 1 comment

Art In The Age Of Optimization – by Dan Sheehan:

In fact, fans love to tout AI art’s accessibility, saying that now anyone can be an artist. Unsurprisingly, this claim seems more focused on art as a product than it is on art as a practice. And that love of accessibility does not seem to extend to social services, public spaces, or anything beyond the automation of skill based professions.


So the company line becomes, “we want art to be for everyone,” while the obvious goal remains the same as every other big tech attempt at optimization: to make money. No one truly believes that the goal here is to make art better or more accessible, right? Are people actually looking at this stuff and feeling like they’re at the dawn of a new age rather than the beginning of the end? The ideal outcome for these companies is to provide a service that makes it so that when some tech guy needs an image of an astronaut looking at the moon to promote his new NFT, he doesn’t have to talk to (or more importantly: pay) anyone to get it. Like the vast majority of silicon valley’s latest contributions to the world, the only thing this seeks to actually optimize is exploitation. So why does everyone seem so excited about it?

I added the emphasis.

Please read the entire post. I think it is brilliant.

1 Comment

  1. Steve

    >So why does everyone seem so excited about it?

    I think like (pretty much) everything else to come out of the “technology sector” (c.f., “silicon valley”) everything is oriented around a “gee wiz” aesthetic. Give it a quarter or so. It will fade into pseudo-curiosity once it’s not “the latest thing ™.”

    One other thing I might mention: most things in the human experience do not lend themselves to actual optimisation, because there is no objective endpoint along a specific parameter to optimise for. This means that AI generated “art” is going to be ordinary and strikingly banal. The craft of art, music, etc is being reduced to processes on several thousand TPUs/GPUs**. … Maybe that is the spirit of the age: brute force statistical processing. And that is called “art” or “music.”

    As Roger Penrose has said on multiple occasions:, “whatever consciousness is, it isn’t a computation.” The same would be said about creativity.

    ** (TPU == “Tensor Processing Unit.” Tensors are just multidimensional data arrays)


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