When an artist uses AI to create art, is it still art? Yes.

When an artist uses AI to create art, is it still art?

Yes, of course it is.

But there are some people out there, who strongly disagree. They believe using AI to create art is wrong. Inferior. Invalid. Immoral even.

I’m old enough to remember when people called using lightboards cheating.

And then they hated Wacom digital drawing boards, because drawing and painting digitally on a PC instead of on paper was considered cheating: “Coloring on the PC? Having the ability to imitate any brush and any type of color? Being able to undo a mistake? How dare you?!”

Some people looove to clutch their pearls.

Whenever there’s a new way of doing something, self-proclaimed “purists” bitch about it, to elevate themselves above others: “I’m better than you, because I think what you do is garbage!”

I get offended by people who get offended by trivial bullshit because they love to pretend they’re morally superior and in a position to judge others.

There are still people bitching about CDs (and MP3s) because “music was meant to be listened to on scratchy LP records! The scratches add depth and personality! Digital music is dead and soulless!”

In the future, everything is gonna be AI generated. Just like today everything is done on the computer instead of by hand on paper. Progress!

AI is a tool, like an ipad. It makes some things much easier, and much quicker.

Being opposed to progress has always been the wrong side of history.

You think of a mouse or stylus pen as a normal form of communicating with a computer, to convey your intentions to the computer.

But computer developers have always considered the human-to-machine interface the bottleneck. People like Bill Gates always hated the keyboard and the mouse, because it takes so long to tell the computer what you want it to do.

For years, they have been trying to streamline the transfer of ideas from your brain to the PC, without the detour over your fingertips.

Finally voice recognition has become so good, that humans can communicate their ideas to a computer by simply saying them out loud, rather than clicking around with a mouse.

Is the work you create any less valuable if you communicate with your computer via voice commands rather than mouse clicks?

No, of course not.

If an artist takes a photo of a face, is it art?

Most people would say yes. There are galleries full of artistic photo exhibits.

But why is it art, when the machine did all the work, and the photographer just pressed a button, rather than paint the face with brushes and paint, by hand?

At one point, cameras were a brand new technology, and it replaced drawing all images by hand, which was the only way to create an image up until the invention of cameras.

If you tell a computer to draw each individual line, until you have a cube, how is that any less valid than if you click the mouse button a few times to draw the same lines, to draw the same cube?

If I tell a computer to draw a red cube that’s 4×4 inches, how is that cube any better or worse than if I click the mouse a few times to get the very same red cube that’s 4×4 inches?

If I use a calculator to add up 4+4, how is the result any less valid than if I add 4+4 by hand on paper?

AI is a tool, and it doesn’t diminish the quality or validity of the outcome.

AI art is real art.

You may not agree with me, and that’s ok. I’m not really trying to change your mind. I’m just explaining my thoughts on AI as a tool to create art.

Art is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why it doesn’t really matter to me whether someone else agrees with me or not. There’s plenty of crap in modern art museums that is not art to me.

For example, a canvas painted entirely in one solid color. That’s not art to me.

Or an empty picture frame hanging on the wall, with no picture in it. That’s not art to me. But you’ll find that kind of stuff in modern art museums.

The most ridiculous “art” to me is when an artist writes a few words on a piece of paper, and the audience has to imagine the art in their own heads.

Seriously. You’ll see a little note that says something like “a red square on the left, and a yellow circle on the right.” And then you’re supposed to imagine that in your head, and that’s the art. These notes describing imaginary art have sold for millions.

Invisible Art


An Italian Artist Auctioned Off an ‘Invisible Sculpture’ for $18,300. It’s Made Literally of Nothing


Anonymous Buyer Pays Over $1 Million for a Piece of Invisible Art

Smithsonian Magazine

Conceptual Art


Books used to be copied by hand, before the printing press was invented.

Monks would spend months, copying a book page by page, word for word, letter by letter, by hand.

Then the printing press was invented and a book could be copied in seconds. Not just once, but thousands of times. Almost instantly.

That was obviously a quantum leap in human civilization.

And nobody thinks that a book is not a “real” book just because it was printed by a machine and not transcribed by hand. Because it was never about how the book was made. It was always about the content, the message of the book. The thoughts the artist or writer put into the book.

We are living through a similar quantum leap in human civilization.

Things that used to take us weeks or months to do by hand can now be done instantly by a machine.

I’m sure when the printing press was invented, there were skeptics who felt that those printed books were somehow less valid than a manually transcribed book. Maybe “less infused by the divine spirit.”

The arguments of today’s skeptics are no less silly. They’re just bitching about the next new technology, like people always have.

Artists express themselves through art, the same way a writer expresses himself through words.

Does it matter if the writer used a feather quill, or an ink pen, or a pencil, or a typewriter, or a keyboard, or voice recognition to convey his message? No.

Does it matter if an artist uses parchment paper, or stone sculptures, or clay, or colored pencils, or water colors, or oil paint, or graffiti to express himself? No.

And AI is simply the newest tool through which artists can express their ideas. It doesn’t matter how the end result is created. What matters is the message the artist tried to convey through his art.

Have you heard of Joseph Beuys?

I remember the scandals around his work. One of his pieces of art was a dirty bathtub. Another one was a simple grease stain.

Is that art? Not to me. But his stuff is in plenty of museums and he’s a very famous artist. Art is in the eye of the beholder.

And if I create an image that looks exactly how I want it to look, but I used a new technology to visualize my idea in a few seconds rather than spending months painting it by hand, it’s still art.

Not everyone may see it that way yet, but sooner or later they will.

There is always resistance against progress, until it eventually becomes the new normal.

Amazon is replacing their warehouse workers with robots. Why? Because robots are faster, stronger, better, cheaper, need no healthcare, no breaks, no sleep, no vacation, they never complain, and never go on strike to demand a raise.

What do you gain by replacing humans with machines? More profit.

And we live in a profit-driven world. That’s why machines that do things better, faster, and cheaper are already replacing humans and will continue to replace more and more humans in every field.

In the past, when an American doctor took your xray, he read the xray to see what was wrong with you.

Then they outsourced the xray reading to doctors in India. They emailed the images to India, and the doctors there send back their findings.

And now those Indian doctors are being replaced by AI, because AI is cheaper, faster, and better at reading xrays:

AI Could Safely Automate Some X-ray Interpretation

Health IT Analytics

Artificial intelligence rivals radiologists in screening X-rays for certain diseases

Stanford Medicine

AI may be as effective as medical specialists at diagnosing disease


AI will replace more and more human labor tasks. Eventually AI will be able to replace every labor task, including painting art, making movies, and creating music.

And at that point, UBI will be inevitable, because there will be billions of people without work and no means of earning an income.

The Inevitable Need for Universal Basic Income in the Age of Artificial Intelligence


We are already surrounded by early forms of AI.

When you get a loan at the bank, the decision if your credit score is good enough or not to be trusted with someone else’s money, is made by an AI algorithm, not by a human.

Search results in Google are sorted by AI, not a human. Your Netflix recommendations are created by AI that learns what you like.

TikTok is so successful, because their AI learns what you like and is really good at predicting which video to show you next, to keep you watching for as long as possible.

AI can already program, design computer chips, write computer viruses, it passed the bar exam and could be a lawyer, can perform medical tasks as good as or better than doctors, etc.

AI Beats Law Grads on Bar Exam

Lawyers Mutual

What’s the point of making AI work for you? Labor cost savings. Billionaires can save billions in salaries by firing all their human workers and replacing them with AI and robots.

AI can instantly absorb massive amounts of information.

So AI can monitor ALL news that come out every day, and learn hidden information about companies that will almost be like insider trading.

AI will be able to predict the stock market better than a human. So billionaires will be able to use AI to make billions on the stock market, by being better at picking winners and losers than any human stock broker or market analyst.

AI will be everywhere and used for everything. It’s inevitable. It’s a greater technological leap forward than the invention of the printing press, radio, TV, phones, computers, the internet, or cell phones.

AI will change everything. Including how we create art.

Related: About Me

Author: Oliver
I'm an introvert. I spend a lot of time inside my head, just thinking about random stuff. Introverts think about more than just being introverts. :) I make comics about those thoughts.

2 thoughts on “When an artist uses AI to create art, is it still art? Yes.

  1. Yay! Someone who sees sense on the topic of AI art. It’s a tool, and a tricky one at that. I’ve struggled to get the results I want out of image generation algorithms, it’s a skill. .

    To answer your grim reaper question: we can joke about the enivetable end of every living thing that has ever or will ever exist. Death is true equality. We can’t joke about one person hurting another in a way that encapsulate violence, mental trauma, social inequality (in both directions) and years of history where the weight of that violence was brushed off.

    Additionally, we know that the people who joke about rape are more likely to commit it. But when we joke about death, we’re not joking about killing someone. We’re joking about a universal force acting on ourselves.

  2. They said the same about the slashed canvas of Fontana or solid color paintings by Rothko, Mondrian, or Yves Klein blue. Every time you visit a museum, you hear uncultured people saying I could have done that. So, “anybody could have done it” is the wrong approach to critique art. But AI doesn’t do art because it doesn’t mean to do art. It doesn’t express anything of itself. It just does what it is told without any “feeling” of its own because it has none.

    The intention is what makes art! A person slashing a canvas for work or a mistake that doesn’t mean to do art is not art! Fontana cutting a canvas means doing art, which is art. AI doesn’t mean to do anything. He gets the will to do stuff from humans. Without a prompt written by a human, Ai stays silent. So, AI can’t do art.

    The other factor is originality. Anybody who is slashing canvas after Fontana, meaning to do art, is just making copies, so people using AI tend to lack the originality effect as AI gives a result that is not original, so people using AI making art are like people slashing canvas and making Art after Fontana did it. They are doing art (if they mean to do art, as explained before) but mostly are not authentic or inspired, so they are somewhat worthless overall other than for personal use.

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