Letter from the Editor
by Tristan Evarts
The key to art, all art, is observation. Always keep your eyes and ears open.
That bit of advice was passed down to me by someone far wiser than I. It does seem to be true, whether applied to illustrating, writing, or, as it happened to be applied to, acting.
So what does it mean now that we are being faced with a new kind of artist? A creator which does not observe, but merely calculates? Where all art becomes a reduction of 1s and 0s. I refer to the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) art.
It’s worth noting that AI art as a concept is actually nothing new. The first example of an AI tool is actually from 1973 when Harold Cohen programmed AARON, an art software program that took in data and output creations based on a limited set of pre-established rules.
In recent years however, certain advancements in technology and computing have created new AI artists which are far more independent in their work. Using machine learning techniques these new AI creators produce art autonomously, without input or direction from an outside coder or programmer. The results are always unexpected, delightful to some and horrifying to others. Christies Auction House in New York recently sold a piece created by artificial intelligence for $432,000. It’s unclear who should benefit from the proceeds. Who exactly should claim responsibility for the work created? It is no longer in the hands of the artist- these works are created quite independently of initial desires and it certainly isn’t the programmer who created the algorithm, but not what the algorithm makes on its own.
And furthermore, should what’s being produced really be called art? It’s called by some critics as flat and unimaginable. An AI doesn’t work messages of the human condition as we understand it as other painters or illustrators might. And yet, as we moved from classical to impressionist painting and then still onward into surreal and post-modern artwork perhaps the next logical step really is the artificial. We certainly seem to be heading that way.
The future holds many wonders and we look forward to witnessing them all alongside you, dear reader. So as we take This journey into our special December issue, which celebrates many talented creators of artwork, may we open ourselves to worlds of marvel and awe. Let us go forth, onward. Onward through the impossible!
Tristan Evarts is the founder and editor-in-chief of Utopia Science Fiction Magazine. He has degrees in English, Philosophy, and Library Science.
Editorials by Tristan Evarts:
Letter from the Editor, December 2020
Letter from the Editor, October 2020
Letter from the Editor, August 2020
Letter from the Editor, June 2020
Letter from the Editor, April 2020
Letter from the Editor, February 2020
Letter from the Editor, December 2019
Letter from the Editor, October 2019
Letter from the Editor, August 2019