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So Long, Art History–AI is the Only Picasso We Need Now

How about we keep art human generated, eh?

In the near future, will the high school senior struggling to turn in that art report Google search a famous artist only to be bombarded with AI remakes? And without proper education, will people start failing to discern the difference? Unfortunately, that future is already upon us. If you type in “Johannes Vermeer” at Google, the Dutch artist famous for his piece “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” an AI copy of the artwork appears in his bio preview.

Visual artists have been resisting AI image generators like Midjourney and DALL-E for a few months now, with even some lawsuits in the mix. Many artists feel that AI art violates copyright. But we’re to another level with this whole debacle when you can’t even search a classical painter like Vermeer and be AI-image free. Something has gone terribly wrong. Maggie Harrison writes at Futurism,

To understand how badly that phenomenon undermines the way information is shared online, remember that not everyone is equipped with the art history knowledge to know what the real “Girl with a Pearl Earring” looks like. Many people searching a painter’s name are likely students or people with no familiarity, and many are likely taking Google’s featured info at face value.

-Maggie Harrison, Google’s Top Result for “Johannes Vermeer” Is an AI Knockoff of “Girl With a Pearl Earring” (futurism.com)

Something similar happened with artist Edward Hopper‘s work on Google, too, which Harrison also mentions in her coverage. Google addressed the issue and took the AI copies away, but now the problem has resurfaced.

Saying this is a bad side of AI isn’t to be a doomsday proclaimer. It’s merely to ask in what universe is it necessary or preferable to feature subpar AI art to a certified masterpiece? Keep art human generated. It’s better that way.

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So Long, Art History–AI is the Only Picasso We Need Now