If you were losing sleep over the imminent threat of robots taking your creative work, then you can sleep peacefully. At least for a little while longer. A real life human photographer won a competition recently, which pitted humans made photographs against AI generated images.
The competition invited photographers and AI image creators to enter the competition with a $1000 prize for the overall winner. Each image was submitted to a panel of judges without them knowing how it was created.
Earlier in February, the Sydney based AI-image agency Absolutely AI won an online photography competition run by digiDirect. They entered under a false name, and pretended that it was a real drone photograph. Afterwards, the agency claimed gleefully to have fooled the judges, and that AI was now indiscernible from traditional photography.
Obviously that stirred up quite some consternation over the interwebs. So digiDirect launched the man versus robot competition in response.
The winning entry was by photographer Keith Costelo, who submitted a humanoid subject, shot and edited in his own signature style.
“While technology continues to advance and push the boundaries of what is possible in photography, there is still something truly special and irreplaceable about the human eye and the creative choices we make,” said Costelo to News.com.au.
Indeed, the entire panel of judges were esteemed photographers and ambassadors for photography’s biggest brands: Jason Boland for Nikon, Russel Ord for Fujifilm, Mark Galer for Sony, Chris Bray for Lumix, and James Simmons for Canon. Perhaps though, it was remiss not to include any AI ‘artists’ on the judging panel for balance? At this point in time it’s still somewhat easy for a trained eye to tell the difference between a real photo and an AI generated image, no matter how photo realistic it is.
“Winning this contest has only strengthened my belief in the power of human artistry and the importance of preserving the authenticity and emotional depth that can only be captured through the lens of a human photographer,” says Costello.
Jaimie Sissons, one of the people behind Absolutely AI commented saying that he felt that the future of the arts industries looked “terrifying”, saying that he felt AI generated images were of far higher quality than man-made imagery.
“I look back at the work that I have created, and if I’m being honest, it all looks so basic,” Sissons says. Perhaps, but I also feel that that is an objective commentary on the quality of Sissons’ own work, not on human artists as a whole.
This debate will rage on for some time now I believe. This battle between man and machine may have been won, however, the war still rages on.