AI art left unprotected by copyright. * The human touch: A non-negotiable in creativity.
In an age where artificial intelligence is increasingly penetrating every facet of our lives, from the phones we use to the entertainment we consume, a recent ruling has stopped us in our tracks to ponder the age-old question: What does it mean to be a creator?
A federal judge recently upheld a finding from the U.S. Copyright Office that AI-generated art isn't entitled to copyright protection. Winston Cho, in a thought-provoking article, brings to light this pivotal judicial stand which, while it may seem like a legal technicality, could have broad implications for our creative future.
For the contemporary, intelligent audience navigating the crossroads of technology and art, this decision shines a spotlight on the integral human element in creativity. As U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell opined, copyright law has "never stretched so far" to "protect works generated by new forms of technology operating absent any guiding human hand." In simpler terms, there's a deep and inseparable bond between the human psyche and authentic creation. An essential connection the likes of which even our most advanced algorithms can't replicate. Or as Judge Howell emphasized, “Human authorship is a bedrock requirement.”
Thaler, the chief executive of the neural network firm, Imagination Engines, listed his AI system as the sole creator of an artwork. While Thaler might have been venturing into uncharted territory by proposing AI as a creator, the Copyright Office's refusal to acknowledge this reiterates the essence of creation. It reminds us of the magic that is birthed when human intellect and imagination intertwine.
Now, while it's tempting to dive into Black Mirror-esque scenarios of a world where AI scripts movies or pens novels, let's pivot back to the realities of today. Every time someone snaps a photo, while cameras capture the scene, it's the photographer's "mental conception" of the image that makes it art. It's that person's choices—be it lighting, angle, or mood—that breathe life into it. Such rulings remind us of an era when The Beatles proclaimed, "All you need is love." Today, amidst a rapidly digitizing world, it's almost as if the courts are crooning, "All you need is a human touch."
A friend recently shared an anecdote of attending an art exhibit where the paintings were AI-generated. The art was intricate and evocative, yet there was a unanimous feeling among attendees: something was missing. That ‘something’ was the artist's soul, the stories, struggles, and euphoria.
However, as we stand on the precipice of what might seem like an AI-dominated future, there’s a silver lining. An affirmation that while machines might mimic or replicate, the essence of creation is profoundly human. It’s a heartening reminder, and perhaps a hint of the approaching Moshiach, where faith, humanity, and optimism will reign supreme.