Why AI won’t replace artists + how it mirrors the collective shift towards greater spiritual development
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is capable of producing unique, interesting, and complex creative works.
Is it art? Who’s to say. The debate over the definition of “art” has a long history, and I’m certainly not the arbiter on that one.
One of the major ethical questions associated with the development of AI has been whether it is or can become self-aware.
Self-awareness (or consciousness) is regarded as a marker of sentience, and sentience is how we, as humans, determine the level of rights and respect we grant to a species, being, or organism.
Beyond the question of rights, what does self-awareness really mean? It’s defined as, “an awareness of one’s own personality or individuality” (Merriam-Webster).
Individuality is key here – we are all unique beings with unique perspectives. This includes our perceptions of the world around us, as well as ourselves.
Will AI replace artists?
This brings me to my main point: AI will not replace artists – not because it can’t become self-aware (I think this will be hard to determine, especially as we will always be measuring AI against our human frame of reference), but because self-awareness necessarily results in unique perspectives and experiences.
Even if we collectively determine that AI creations are art (or even “high art”), that won’t suddenly make human creations less “good” or less “artistic.”
In the same way that multiple humans can be artists and their works appreciated in different ways, AI’s creations will simply add to the variety of creative works that spark thought, conversation, and feeling (which, ultimately, contributes to how we determine if something is art).
Everyday, new people decide to create. These new creations don’t diminish existing or past creations.
Present-day sculptors don’t take away from Michelangelo.
Artists will integrate AI’s capabilities into their work. Art and artists will evolve with the addition of a new tool and technique, as they always have. Imagine the kind of complex editing you can apply very quickly with the help of AI.
A kind of art AI cannot create
Setting aside the question of whether AI can become self-aware, AI cannot produce at least one kind of art: self-portraits.
What is “self” when it comes to AI?
And if there was something that could be AI’s self, how could AI capture it?
In the hypothetical scenario in which AI is self-aware, it could maybe produce an image that represented its perception of itself. This would be a kind of self-portrait, although I imagine this type of medium would need a new name.
AI would have to be self-aware to initiate this process on its own. Self-portraits are inherently self-initiated. And at this point in time, this is not possible for AI.
So in this respect, humans craving a space for themselves, one in which they don’t feel they need to “compete” with AI, can naturally turn to self-portraits (as mentioned above, I don’t think there’s any real need for competition).
Expressions of self-awareness will continue to be unique to humans (at least for the time being).
And, returning to the topic of AI’s editing capabilities for a second – AI will enable self-portrait artists to bring the intricate visions inside their heads to the external world. Not all artists have the knowledge and skills to create the kind of images they envision in their minds. Speaking for myself as a self-portrait photographer, I might have an image in mind of how I perceive myself, but I’m not able to personally bring that vision to life with my current skillset, nor can I always commission another artist to do so. AI can expand our capacity for self-perception and visualization.
The mere presence of AI will naturally encourage questions of self, identity, and personal expression. In this way, the existence of AI serves as a mirror that we are collectively holding up to ourselves, confronting ourselves with these deeper questions.
While AI is a mirror for each of us on an individual level, it also reflects bigger, collective shifts on the planet.
The collective shift
Saturn recently started its move out of Aquarius into Pisces, where it will spend the next three years. According to Dr. Michael Lennox, “When a social or outer planet changes signs, it reflects big shifts on the planet” (March 6, 2023 Astro Alert newsletter), and Saturn is a big deal in terms of planetary shifts. Over the next three years, life lessons, which Saturn delivers, will focus on the unconscious, spirituality and our connection to Source, and the ways in which all things are connected (all things Piscean).
Pluto is also entering Aquarius (from Capricorn) in the final week of March 2023, and Pluto shifts mark generations. Pluto hasn’t been in Aquarius for more than 100 years – you can look at what was going on around the world 100 years ago to get an idea of what Pluto in Aquarius can bring. Interestingly, Aquarius rules technology, so I (not an astrologer) can imagine this bringing massive growth in the AI space over the next twenty years.
With both of these shifts, we have a shift inwards, towards our spiritual selves and our connection with Source combined with massive shifts in technology – looking towards what connects us all on the (internal) spiritual level AND the thing that has enabled greater connectivity in the (external) material world.
With AI and creativity, we’ll be grappling with the tug of war between the spiritual and material, the internal and external, our connectedness and our individual identities. We’ll be asking big questions, and we’ll see these conversations play out in what we apply our creative abilities to, as well as what we task AI with.