Some Thoughts on Generative AI


Artificial Intelligence has been and will continue to be a great topic for this decade and the decades to come. Machines learn how to create content that we perceive being of high – or lets say – adequate quality, much faster than any human being could create this content.

The consequences are both frightening and fascinating. The discussions spiral around if AI is a threat to – or a benefit for us. If AI will replace jobs. If we wind down the road to a Skynet Scenario with finally the Terminator knocking on our door.

I guess: it depends on the questions we are asking. There are better questions and there are more trivial questions. And there are questions that resonate with you and questions that do not.

Here is a similarity between us humans and the AI programs like ChatGPT – the answers and their quality very much depend on the questions you are asking. So – to think about AI, first be intentional what your question really is.

My question to AI is: how does the use of AI improve me as a photographer?

I asked that question to ChatGPT, and here is the answer:

The use of AI can improve you as a photographer in several ways:

  1. Image Enhancement: AI-powered tools can enhance your photos by automatically adjusting settings such as brightness, contrast, and color balance to improve overall quality.
  2. Object Recognition: AI algorithms can help identify and categorize objects within your photos, making it easier to organize and search through your image library.
  3. Composition Assistance: AI can provide suggestions for composition and framing based on established principles of photography, helping you capture more visually appealing shots.
  4. Style Transfer: AI-powered software can apply artistic styles to your photos, allowing you to experiment with different looks and aesthetics.
  5. Automated Editing: AI tools can streamline your editing workflow by automating repetitive tasks, such as removing blemishes or adjusting skin tones.
  6. Content Creation: Generative AI can generate realistic images based on your specifications, providing inspiration and new ideas for your photography projects.

Overall, incorporating AI into your photography workflow can help you save time, enhance your creative output, and push the boundaries of your artistic vision.

That sounds better than I expected. And some elements indeed resonate – becoming better at something means to work in the process. To experiment, to fail. To expose oneself to new ways and find out what does not work. To not take shortcuts.

That rubs up on oneself, it exposes us and it works deeply in our neural networks, making us different.

Some things in above answer could be shortcuts – they spare us certain work steps in the process. And if we already have mastered those steps, it might even be beneficial, because we gain time for the real work.

Some things are new ways to work with our vision, to experiment. To expose ourselves to new ideas. If used in that way, AI can help us becoming better at what we do, gaining new insights into what we really want to show.

When i wrote the first lines of this article, I thought I already had my answer ready: AI does not improve me as a person. And if I use AI as a shortcut, that answer still is true.

Having asked ChatGPT, I see my answer might have been a little premature: it is not only about asking the right questions, but also being aware and intentional with AI, guided by those questions.

It can help us grow as photographers, if we use it in the way that it forces us to further challenge ourselves and our creative process.

But if we allow it to become a shortcut to spare us working on our vision, doing the messy work of failure, becoming afraid of failure, it might get in the way to evolve.

It is a tool that needs mastering.




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