by Tom Stratton

Artificial Intelligence

When we think of artificial intelligence, most of us probably think...
Artificial Intelligence
When we think of artificial intelligence, most of us probably think about the same thing: robot invasions. Well, some of us might now just think of the Lensa Filter app thing that I literally found out about today. But Hollywood has definitely had some influence on the collective view of where robotics is going. There is no doubt that AI has made some massive technological leaps forward but what does this mean for us? What does this mean for industry? For jobs? Particularly with the recent developments in AI-generated art, what does this mean for the creative community?
The theory of developing something that could imitate the human mind has been around for  a long time now both in science fiction and true scientific thinking; Alan Turing hypothesised the idea of AI in the development of the first computer. Yet as technology has moved along at ever-increasing rates we are starting to see a glimpse of things which we previously could only imagine (or never imagined at all). 
Ex Machina: jaw-dropping architecture, stunning design and now a BIFA  winner - Film and Furniture
Hollywood movies have long shown us the perils of actual AI and the impact it could have on us as a society. Even Stephen Hawking once said that ‘the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race’. Although this seems extreme, AI has already started to impact our present and our not-so-distant future. I’m not saying there’s robots out to replace the entire species (though we can’t ever be too sure). I’m talking about our development and how we view our lives. In particular I’m talking about jobs and our role in society.
Factory work and agriculture are the prime examples of the impact of learning machines on employment. There has long been a decline in available jobs in industries and there are already many companies with lights-out factories producing everything from raw material to storing end products. Lights-out factories are named due to their ability to be 9almost) entirely run by machines who don’t need light or any basic amenities to work. The fact that they don’t need breaks or wages only increases their  value to employers. Plus they’re not going to walk out if you shout at them. There are now even lights-out factories which create the machines needed to run lights-out factories which I won’t go too far into because, firstly, I don’t massively understand it, but secondly and more importantly, it’s absolutely fucking terrifying. 
How Manufacturing Robots are Changing the World in 2018 | Industrial  Automation - Technavio
In particular it is those single-task jobs that will be most affected at first. We already have self-driving cars and once they are fully perfected and deemed safe enough to roam freely, what will be the need for taxi drivers? In fact what will be the need for any sort of driver? Amazon and other companies have already trialled drone delivery, particularly in more remote areas, so where does this leave delivery drivers (actually thinking about some delivery drivers I’ve had this might not be such a bad thing). Jobs such as data entry, stocktaking, and cashier work may well soon become redundant,  adding to the unemployment rates and reducing the available roles. 
All of this might not be such scary news if we have a plan in place for those people displaced by the introduction of AI. One theory is that we introduce universal basic income and try to imagine a life where we don’t have to work (something I’ve been dreaming about for years). Another idea is that we reconfigure our idea of what work is. As far as we know imagination and dreaming is a human concept that machines will not be able to emulate. Therefore our jobs become rooted in ideas and imagination rather than tasks which can be done much more efficiently by machines. However the recent introduction of AI-generated art causes some concern as to the true nature of creation and how far AI can go. What does this do to our own creativity and the entire creative sector? 
AI-Generated Artwork Wins State Fair Competition, Leaving Human Artists  Unhappy | IFLScience
As I said computers were essentially created to become imitators of the brain. To compute things much faster than we could. This means that in order to do this, they would have to have a level of perception. To be able to perceive something, take that information, process it, and come up with an answer or solution. The ability to create comes in the ability to perceive; if a computer can describe a picture then it should be able to create a picture from the description (that’s the best I can understand and explain it but you get what I’m saying, right? Right?). This process of creation is exactly what we’re seeing now with AI-generated art. It’s an exciting prospect but also one that strikes at the core of true art and the idea of human creativity. 
Although AI isn’t creative in the same way humans are, that doesn’t mean it isn’t creating art. At the minute AI is processing things input by a human user: you input a series of prompts and AI creates its own interpretation of those words. However as AI is essentially based around learning and using the things that its learned, over time it is becoming ever more complex.If you look at human art over a 4000 year span it’s development is nothing on the development of AI-generated art. The more the machine learns the more it usable to learn which is exactly how our brains work. Just much quicker. The argument lies in whether this is true creativity and what this means for the art world.
Which AI Creates the Best (and Most Terrifying) Art?
As AI can’t imagine or innovate, purely imitate and learn from millions of sources much quicker than we can, there is the argument of forgery. Because what AI creates is purely a mathematical equation based on input from humans sources it will begin to imitate particular styles. Rather than being influenced by styles and innovating from its influence, AI is much more likely to copy a style based on a string of commands. This could have particular ramifications for commercial art as companies can have their ideas realised without the need for employing a pricey graphic designer or illustrator. So it may not just be labour that is affected but creativity and art.
Ultimately there are people who know much more about this than me. Lots of people. But it’s an interesting thought. Particularly for those in creative industries. For example, could AI have written this article? Probably, yes. Could AI have written a more informed and cohesive article? Again, probably, yes. But the true question is if it can it actually replace me? Fuck. Lets just leave that one there. Thanks.