The artwork created by artificial intelligence has won a government competition, and people don’t know what to think

A game designer has sparked controversy after submitting an image created by an AI text-to-image creator to a government art competition and taking home first prize.

Jason Allen submitted the artwork titled “Theatre d’Opera Spatial” in the “Digital Art/Photography Manipulated” category at the Colorado State Fair Fine Art Competition, but he created the piece using a popular AI generator for text-to-image called Midjourney .

A Twitter post describing Allen .’s win The virus spread earlier this week (It was first covered by vice). The post elicited a strong response, with many users claiming Allen was cheating in sending the piece, especially since most of the public are unaware of how text-to-image AI generators work. But Allen defended his actions.

He said, “I wanted to make a statement using AI artwork.” pueblo leader. “I feel like I accomplished it, and I won’t apologize for that.” (the edge I reached out to Allen via private message but had received no response at the time of publication.)

The text-to-image AI systems are trained on billions of pairs of images and text descriptions, which are extracted for visual patterns. Users then provide them with text descriptions known as prompts, and the software creates an image that matches that description based on its training data.

While these systems were previously the exclusive domain of well-funded tech companies like OpenAI and Google, they have become increasingly accessible in recent months. The system used by Allen, called Midjourney, is one of the most popular and is known for its finely tuned aesthetics, often mimicking the styles of contemporary digital art.

Midjourney itself can be accessed through a Discord server, where users (including Allen, who goes by the Sincarnate handle) display their artwork and share tips on how to improve their output. Allen posted on Discord that he won the contest last Friday, saying, “I proceeded to make a statement using Midjourney in a competitive manner and stunned! I couldn’t be more excited to win my favorite piece.”

Despite this, responses to Allen’s win were mixed, with many accusing him of deceiving the judges. From Allen’s description of his win, it appears the show judges weren’t fully aware of how the piece was created. In his Midjourney Discord, Allen says that “the description of the artwork clearly stated that I created it via Midjourney,” but when another user asks if he has made it clear what the program does, Allen replies, “Should I explain what Midjourney is? If it is Well why?” Evoke face-to-face emoji reactions from others in the chat.

Allen said he was telling people at the show that the piece was “digital art created with AI tools” and that he needed no more explaining what Midjourney is than for a digital artist to explain how Adobe Illustrator works. He also emphasizes the work he did on creating the image—”I placed the order, fine-tuned it for several weeks, and took care of all the images”—and adds that his Photoshop editing makes up “at least 10%” of the work.

The rules of the contest that Allen entered describe only his category as “an artistic practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process”.

Midjourney’s Discord residents discuss the fairness of his actions. Users praised the beauty of the artwork and Allen’s skill in its execution, but many suggested he should have been more upfront about the creation process. One user said: “I think most criteria would not have chosen an AI image to win if it had known.” “Just because it’s not yet mainstream and accepted.”

Another said Allen’s arguments were disingenuous and that if the show’s judges were fully aware of his methods, he would not be allowed to enter the competition. “If there was an AI art class, I would send congratulations. But this whole thing falls into a gray area,” another user wrote. “I would bet a large sum that the judges did not choose him as the winner knowing that he used a text for the image generator.”

Some were more supportive, though, saying that judges should have Googled Midjourney to see how it works or indicating that Midjourney is just another digital art tool like Photoshop or Illustrator and that the piece was correctly entered into the “Digital Arts/Photography category” digitally manipulated photographs.

Screenshot of Midjourney Discord, showing a text prompt the user has fed to the system and the image generated in response.
Photo: edge

Olga Roback, director of communications for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, confirmed pueblo leader That Allen had already mentioned the use of Midjourney in his presentation statement but did not say whether he had made it clear how it works. Roebuck noted that the fair’s rules allow anyone to file a complaint against the applications, and that as of Wednesday afternoon, no such complaint had been filed. Roebuck told the publication, “This is a broader conversation about how do we decide what art is and how do we appropriately judge it?”

On Twitter, some of the responses to Allen’s win were more extreme. One user said, “We are watching the death of art unfold right before our eyes,” while another laments that the artwork is now “produced as cheaply and as quickly as possible to be consumed in batches of a few microseconds as it slides through the infinite feed.”

Text-to-AI image generators are just beginning to emerge, but already, software is sparking heated discussions about the nature of art, whether this software is a threat to artists’ livelihoods, and whether or not the companies that create them have anything to do with the artists their software has trained in. their business.

Allen discussed some of these topics in his Midjourney Discord, asking if a “perceived level of effort” is necessary to understanding the value of art. He writes: “What if we looked at it from the other end, what if an artist made a very difficult and complex series of constraints in order to create a piece, for example, they made their art while hanging upside down the skin while painting (this is extreme.) Should I rate This artist worked differently than another artist who created the same piece “naturally”?”

Talking to pueblo leader Allen suggests that some of the reactions to his victory — and to AI artwork in general — may be driven in part by fear. “Artists are afraid,” he says. “They are worried that they will be replaced by a robot.”

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