The use of AI to create digital art is becoming a worrying hot topic for many professional artists. The rise of AI that can create amazing and creative paintings could put artists out of work; it is fear. But the AI art isn’t taking over yet, in fact, some of them are absolutely awful. Seriously, these images would give Salvador Dalí nightmares.
We’ve seen big tech brands enter the AI art space and some, such as DALL-E 2 and Google’s Imagen, are certainly impressive, though I wonder if they can truly replicate human expression.
The new advertising project of the London agency 10 Days (opens in a new tab) saw AI platform Midjourney create a series of campaigns around 10 famous brands, including Nespresso, KFC, Gucci, British Airways and Ray-Ban. Frankly, I find the results horrifying. Not because it could replace artists, that’s bad, of course, but because art freaks me out.
Midjourney’s results are downright creepy and include a painting of a chicken eating fried chicken, a Gucci-colored slug on a tongue, and a human shark mix-up – it’s mechanical Abstract Expressionism and I find it unsettling.
The art was created by feeding six genre-based words into the algorithm, such as “sci-fi”, “noir” and “cinematic”, alongside the required brand names. It took Midjourney a few minutes to create 24 unique images per brand. 10 Days believes that using AI in this way is not designed to replace creatives, but to draft iterations of a theme that artists can then work on and embellish – and improve.
There would definitely need some tweaking too, if Midjourney were ever to be let loose on a real-world ad campaign. AI may be able to render abstract and uncomfortable illustrations, but it has yet to find a spell checker – we’re not sure “KFFC”, “Ubber” and “Wumbldoon” would impress customers.
While we can smile at the errors found in Midjourney’s approach, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that AI art generation is increasingly used and becoming more powerful. As early as 2016, AI created doodles in fine art and there are useful features in some of the best AI photo editing software, but we can’t help but think that the interaction, expression and human talent will always be needed.