Art Official Intelligence: On AI And Creativity

Shane Paul Neil
4 min readJul 26, 2023
My shitty attempt at using Photoshop’s Generative Fill

This story was originally published at shanepaulneil.com.

I’ll start off by saying this plainly. I’m tired of the AI conversation. In a matter of months, the injection of artificial intelligence into everything from TikTok filters to sex toys has known no bounds. And depending on who you ask it is either the burgeoning of yet another tech revolution or the kickoff to the end of humanity.

Why not both?

The pre-PhotoShopped Image

Nowhere has AI enveloped the lexicon more than in art. One of the major sticking points of the SAG/AFTRA strike is the AMPTP’s proposed use of AI to scan background actors and use their images in perpetuity without compensation. AI has been used to simulate your favorite singers and rappers performing brand-new songs and covers. And just about every online photography group I frequent is debating on whether or not to allow AI-augmented images to be submitted.

For many, the core of the artificial intelligence debate comes down to who or what is doing the actual creation.

But, as photography has often proved,0 technology is often not the death knell of our vision of what authentic creation looks like.

I was walking the dog recently, my camera slung over my shoulder. As I walked someone said, “You don’t see real cameras much anymore”. Without thinking I responded, “Oh, it’s not real. It’s digital.”

There was a time when that was the appropriate response.

Since the invention of the photograph, there have been advancements in the art that have scared purists. When color photography was first introduced it was seen as a novelty that had no place in legitimate photography circles. To this day many photographers believe that digital photography cheapens the experience of taking a photo. After all, where is the skill if you can shoot a scene over and over, getting instant feedback to see if you achieved your vision?

At one point digital stock photography was supposed to be an industry killer. The idea of hundreds of thousands of photos stockpiled on a hard drive meant that photographers…

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Shane Paul Neil

Writer (duh) and photographer. Bylines @levelmag @complex @ebony @huffpo shanepaulneil.com