Some ironies uncovered by the enthusiasm for AI from the perspective of an organically intelligent artist.

Throughout my career peddling art services as a “graphic designer” I noticed a pattern. In the process of seeking and fulfilling employment as an artist, I was repeatedly discouraged from submitting work that was the product of free association. It was sternly recommended that I worked with PURPOSE, in response to a specific brief borne of a business PROBLEM. And those problems were the parameters within which I was expected to produce SOLUTIONS.

Beauty was of little concern. Exploration of the psyche did not drive sales. Self-expression was an unmentionable taboo. And so I and many others like me did that kind of work in secret, after hours, in our FREE time. We did it for free because it was ESSENTIAL, but had no market value. We uploaded the work because the appreciation from our friends and families was spiritually and psychologically enriching, but for most, it didn’t pay. And we were adamantly reminded that our CRIME of self expression would not pay.

Now comes MACHINE LEARNING. The SOLUTION to the PROBLEM. Revealing exactly what the problem was all along – by way of the unbridled enthusiasm for expressive work, that is nigh close to the real thing, but exponentially DISCOUNTED and FAST. And the machines did learn–to copy, and to paste, and to collage the expressive work of free minds now harvested and harnessed by unskilled opportunists. REVEALING that they did want that expressive work all along, but they wanted it CHEAP. And they will get it.

The TRUTH – that stock photos stamped with White Helvetica was never GOOD. It was always CHEAP, EASY, and SAFE. How often did I try to tell them? And now that bland style will disappear as the ABSTRACT, the COLORFUL, and CURVACEOUS is equally cheap; now they can afford to admit it. Oh yeah, we’ll see how they really wanted it all along.

I resignedly laugh in the knowing. The ALWAYS KNOWING.