Image: Jason Allen

It looks like AI is going to make life harder for artists, too.

As reported by The New York Times, a man by the name of Jason M. Allen managed to take home the blue ribbon prize after submitting an entry to the Colorado State Fair’s annual art competition. Some artists are unhappy about his win, however, as the artwork was actually created with Midjourney, an artificial intelligence program that allows anyone to create “hyper-realistic” art just by typing in lines of text.

Allen has been accused of being a cheater, according to the publication, which reached out to him earlier this week:

Mr. Allen’s work, “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial,” took home the blue ribbon in the fair’s contest for emerging digital artists — making it one of the first A.I.-generated pieces to win such a prize, and setting off a fierce backlash from artists who accused him of, essentially, cheating.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Mr. Allen defended his work. He said that he had made clear that his work — which was submitted under the name “Jason M. Allen via Midjourney” — was created using A.I., and that he hadn’t deceived anyone about its origins.

“I’m not going to apologize for it,” Allen said. “I won, and I didn’t break any rules.”

“This isn’t going to stop,” he added. “Art is dead, dude. It’s over. A.I. won. Humans lost.”

Here’s how the apps work, according to the Times:

Apps like DALL-E 2 and Midjourney are built by scraping millions of images from the open web, then teaching algorithms to recognize patterns and relationships in those images and generate new ones in the same style. That means that artists who upload their works to the internet may be unwittingly helping to train their algorithmic competitors.

RJ Palmer, a digital artist, pointed out in a series of tweets regarding the AI last month that it is “explicitly trained on current working artists.”

Source: The New York Times (alternate link)

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