What Happens When Art Is Democratized By AI?

Pradeep Aradhya
9 min readNov 10, 2022
I took this photo

It took me two years of haunting Gloucester, MA and its seaside public dahlia garden, and quite luckily happening upon a particularly hued bloom exposed in a decidedly delightful slant of sunlight to capture the above photo. And DALL-E blithely produced the below in about five seconds when I typed in “black and white close up of dahlia”. Is my art threatened? Should I be incensed my labors are to naught? Will DALL-E somehow pick up my image and learn from it to generate much better dahlias? Will people shilly-shally over buying my art if they can get a better one gratis from DALL-E?

DALL-E generated black and white images of Dahlias

Some artistes found out their work was used to train AIs like DALL-E and they are furious. In fact, an image generated by AI Midjourney won an art competition recently:

AI generated image wins Colorado State Fair Art Show

Ya know … in a world where we segregate genders in competition and in bathrooms … in a world where the transgendered are held in fear, fascination and apathy … how did we let a machine compete with humans … and win?

While most artists are disturbed that an AI image won, the person who generated that AI image is Jason Allen — an artist himself.

Wait … what? Transhuman artiste??!

Some artists are ok with their work being used for training but would like to be paid for it. Platform companies like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion are considering how to give artists control over their work being used for training and/or being paid for it.

Riiiiiight … did not occur to them when they were blatantly stealing art for training but now that someone is protesting, they are going to “think” about it for a while, probably pay a few prominent artists and then continue stealing from the rest. Let us return here in 3 years to see.

Be all that as it may, these abilities of AI are in effect democratizing the artistic process … but only to a certain extent. I have railed on previously about AI capabilities being limited to its training set here

Pradeep Aradhya

Exploring boundaries on culture, business strategy, and technology. Film maker, Kidlit Author, Technologist, Philanthropist, Investor, CEO