photographer, visual artist and designer.

The Future of AI

Recently, I used AI to transform some of my photos of Singapore’s Chinatown into beautiful pieces of art. It’s amazing to see the progress that developers have made in creating AI algorithms that can achieve this in less than ten seconds. These algorithms can help artists experiment with different styles and enable non-artists to bring their ideas to life. Personally, I cannot imagine how many hours it would have taken me to draw something like this.

While AI makes tasks like creating art, taking photos, and writing seem almost effortless, many creators are concerned about copyright infringement, as these end products are often created through the collection of vast amounts of data. However, even without the use of AI, copyright infringement remains a common issue for creators, with little recourse available to them. I have seen my photographs used without my permission, but there was little I could do except to appreciate those who bother to ask if they could use my work.

So, should creators fear AI? Maybe not. Writers have gone from handwriting drafts to typing them out and using autocorrect. Photographers have progressed from film to DSLRs and now to mirrorless cameras, as well as using advanced post-editing softwares. Artists have transitioned from using paints and brushes to using digital tools like Illustrator and Procreate. What has changed over the years is the medium with which art in different forms is being created. What is important is the concept, the idea, and the vision. And if you make a living with your art, what is most important is how you market it.

As an artist, designer, photographer, tutor, translator, and writer, I am often asked, “Are you afraid that AI will take over your job?” While my skills can easily be performed by AI, my answer is no. On the contrary, I welcome it. Why spend ten hours on something when AI can complete it in ten seconds? In fact, I think AI would be helpful for overcoming creative blocks, no different from doing research on Google and creating a mood board on Pinterest.

Although AI art raises concerns about livelihood and ethics, it is not a matter of life and death. The bigger concern with AI is its potential to make scams harder to detect. In addition, Professor Jeong Jae-seung raised significant concerns about how AI will be programmed to make decisions regarding life and death, such as in the trolley dilemma, in a recent episode of All the Butlers. This will remain a major problem until legal and ethical issues are resolved.

Would I use AI in the future? If there’s a demand for it, why not? I could upload my work and use AI to produce drafts in my own style without infringing on copyrights. If there’s no demand, then this debate is meaningless.

Plot twist: AI was used to improve the writing quality of this blog post, but it required a lot of time, effort, and input from me. AI lacks personal experiences, which I can provide to make the writing more relatable and engaging. Also, it isn’t trained to replicate my writing style yet.

Update (2 May 2023): ‘The Godfather of AI’ leaves Google and warns of danger ahead