Skip to main content


We’ve nothing to fear from AI art

An AI-generated image combining a neoclassical portrait of Napoleon and a Renaissance painting of a crowd scene

Creative artificial intelligence is the most “surprising and exhilarating art form in the world”, says Stephen Marche in The Atlantic. It’s currently best-known for text-to-image applications, where you type in a phrase and the AI, drawing on “sprawling databases of existing imagery”, creates a picture of its own. Some argue these creations are not art at all; some say “art is dead” because a computer can now do whatever a human can. Neither is true. “It took decades for photography to be recognized as an art form.” The French poet Charles Baudelaire labelled it the “mortal enemy” of art. The argument then was the same as the one against AI art today: “It’s not art if you’re just pushing some buttons, right?”

People said similar things about “some of the most important art of the 20th century”, like Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings and Andy Warhol’s sculptures of soap packaging. The truth is that machines neither replace art nor oppose it – they expand its possibilities. “Creative artificial intelligence is the art of the archives; it is the art derived from the massive cultural archives we already inhabit.” Current AI art is fascinating, but not “amazing in itself”. Yet nobody knows the possibilities of a new art form until somebody steps in and demonstrates its full potential. “Figuring out what AI art is will be tremendously difficult, tremendously joyful. Let’s start now.”