How to tell the difference between art created by Artificial Intelligence and by artists

How long will the naked eye be able to tell the difference between images created by artificial intelligence and works of art imagined by humans? Ari Melencianoa Brooklyn-based artist who works at Google’s Creative Lab, squints at her computer screen as she scans artwork created by generative AI: “Honestly, I have a hard time telling the difference ”, she admits.

The democratization of image generators thanks to AI, like Midjourney or DALL-E 2, is sparking fiery debates in the art world. These technologies have indeed emerged by being fed with images and original works looted from the Internet, without any compensation or credit being given to the content creators. For artists, it’s pure and simple theft: “The current model of AI art generators is unethical. The data that the AIs fed on was collected without asking the opinion of the people concerned,” says Jared Krichevskyconcept artist who designed the M3GAN robot from the eponymous film.

The companies behind the AI ​​generators should soon find themselves in court to defend themselves against copyright infringement charges. Many artists continue to express their anger and look for levers to restore justice: “Their works are introduced into a machine against their will. And what’s more, this machine is specifically designed to replace us,” adds Jared Krichevsky.

Smaller and smaller differences

The legal challenges are numerous. And in the meantime, the widespread use of these tools continues to sow confusion. Recently, a digital artist posted his work on Reddit and was accused by an r/Art moderator to post an image generated with the help of AI. “Honestly, we won’t be able to tell the difference between an AI-generated work and the rest soon,” says Ellie Prittsan artist who openly uses AI to create her works.

Online, in the press, or on forums, people often joke that you shouldn’t look too closely at hands in AI works, as they often feature very odd finger configurations. “Eyes and looks are sometimes very strange,” adds Logan Preshaw, a concept artist who warns of an overly generalized use of AI. He stresses, however, that these small errors in identifying the nature of the work will soon be a thing of the past. The artists interviewed for this article are indeed unanimous: they will become less and less obvious, as technology will progress, developers constantly adjusting their AIs taking into account the criticisms they receive, like absent stares and too many fingers.

“AI has no experimental basis for understanding what people, trees or hands are”

Dan Ederan artist specializing in 3D character creation, points out that attention must be paid to the general design of the 3D character (or work) to spot an AI image: “When a concept artist creates an armor for a character — let’s say a ‘fantasy warrior armor’ — he will create something functional, take care to place the limbs of the character in the armor, wonder what it looks like in movement… This set of parameters escapes an AI.”