discussion panel

AI: The Death of the Artist?

Discussion with Mateusz Siedlecki and Tracey Follows.

  • In October 2022, a surreal and funny, almost sci-fi event took place in the UK: an AI robot Ai-Da addressed a group of distinguished unelected politicians in the House of Lords. Ai-Da is “the world’s first ultra-realistic humanoid AI robot,” speaks with an upper class accent, looks like a thirty-something white female, and has 124 000 Instagram followers. It creates artworks, visits art shows and gives talks and lectures.
    • The aim of the House of Lords inquiry was to determine whether AI is a threat to jobs and intellectual property in the creative and cultural industries, or a new great tool to enhance creativity and perform jobs that humans would rather not perform.
  • In April 2023, the German photo-video artist, Boris Eldagsen, won the first prize at Sony World Photography Awards. He received $5,000 and free camera equipment for an image entitled "The Electrician.” Eldagsen turned down the award and suggested that the prize be donated to the photo festival in Odesa, Ukraine. Why? Because his submission was created using an AI image generator. The artist said he wanted to provoke a debate about the use of AI- generated images and fake news.
  • New technology, robots, androids, cyborgs, trans-humans have populated the human imagination not only in science-fiction, but also in culture and society in the form of both aspirations to the ingenuity of humanity and hubristic threats to the human spirit and condition.
    • As one of our guest speakers Tracey Follows discusses on her podcast, are we seeing the rise of digital religions and the potential for AI to shape and mould our spirituality?
  • The iconic musician Nick Cave has been highly critical of AI. He argues that a song, and by extension art, is born out of suffering. He said: “Songs arise out of suffering, by which I mean they are predicated upon the complex, internal human struggle of creation and, well, as far as I know, algorithms don’t feel. Data doesn’t suffer. ChatGPT has no inner being, it has been nowhere, it has endured nothing, it has not had the audacity to reach beyond its limitations, and hence it doesn’t have the capacity for a shared transcendent experience, as it has no limitations from which to transcend.”
    • In material reality, will AI take the jobs of designers, craftspeople, artists, scriptwriters, and architects?
  • Who has control of all the data collected, as we use numerous AI apps to generate images, emails, relationships, consumer purchases, fantasies, articles, social media posts, and many other forms of interactions?
    • The science-fiction writer Nikhil Singh remarked that the vast number of unsolicited, unread scripts sent to producers could potentially be fed into a database to generate AI scripts. Plagiarism? Creative Theft? The blogger Karl ReMarks jokingly posted on Facebook: “Humans doing the hard jobs on minimum wage while the robots write poetry and paint is not the future I wanted.” Beyond the laughs, he does also make a serious point: The World Economic Forum “estimated that 85 million jobs worldwide could potentially be replaced by AI and other automation technologies by 2025, but 97 million new jobs will be created to manage and maintain automation technologies with new roles in the management of ethics, safety, and security associated with the technology.”
  • Will we be purchasing and consuming more AI generated art, novels, films, and music in the very near future?
    • Will the rapid, chaotic growth of AI lead to a cull of artists?
  • We are delighted to welcome two distinguished guest speakers who will address some of the many questions on the impact of AI on art and society – the British futurist and author Tracey Follows, and the Polish photographer Mateusz Siedlecki, who uses AI to generate vibrant, futuristic and fantastical portraits.
    • Join us for what promises to be a stimulating, speculative discussion.
  • This text was not generated by AI.
  • Admission is free.
  • Cover art:
    • Mateusz Siedlecki Together for eternity