“I’m fascinated by these images. I love them. And I think everyone should see them,” Allen, 39, told CNN Business in an interview Friday.
The novelty of these tools, the way they are used to produce images, and in some cases the control over access to some of the most powerful have led to debates about whether they can really do art or helping humans make art.
“This sucks for the exact same reason we don’t let robots compete in the Olympics,” one Twitter user wrote.
“It’s the literal definition of ‘push a few buttons to create a piece of digital art,'” tweeted another. “AI artworks are now the ‘banana stuck to the wall’ of the digital world.”
Still, although Allen didn’t use a paintbrush to create his winning piece, there was a lot of work to be done, he said.
“It’s not like you smash words together and win competitions,” he said.
First, he said, he played with the phrasing that led Midjourney to generate images of women in frilly dresses and space helmets – he tried to mix Victorian-style costumes with themes spatial, he said. Over time, with many slight tweaks to his written prompt (such as adjusting lighting and color harmony), he created 900 iterations of what led to his final three images. He cleaned up these three images in Photoshop, for example giving one of the female figures in his winning image a head with wavy black hair after The middle of the trip had rendered her headless. Then he ran the images through another software called Gigapixel AI which can improve the resolution and had the images printed on canvas at a local print shop.
Allen is happy that the debate over whether AI can be used to make art is getting so much attention.
“Rather than hating technology or the people behind it, we need to recognize it’s a powerful tool and use it for good so we can all move forward rather than sulk,” Allen said.
Cal Duran, an artist and art teacher who was one of the competition’s judges, said that while Allen’s piece included a mention of Midjourney, he hadn’t realized it had been generated by AI when judging. Still, he stands by his decision to award it first place in its category, he said, calling it a “beautiful piece”.
“I think there are a lot of things involved in this piece and I think AI technology can give more opportunities to people who might not find themselves artists in the conventional way,” said- he declared.
Allen won’t say what the text prompt behind his winning image was yet — he plans to keep it a secret until he releases a larger related work he hopes to complete later this year.