The rise of AI

Taylor Greenwood, Entertainment Editor

First AI music, then AI art, and now AI articles. Soon, journalists might be losing their jobs to the “artificial intelligence chatbot”, ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is an online tool created and launched by OpenAI, an AI research company, on Nov. 30th 2022. It was made to hold conversations, answer questions, and help with tasks such as writing, creating code, etc. And since then, the company and the chatbot have been gaining popularity as ChatGPT managed to create authentic and flawless articles from simple prompts. 

“It writes absolute bangers that are indistinguishable from real…journalist pieces,” said Charles “Charlie” White Jr., a popular YouTuber who goes by the moniker “penguinz0”. In one of his videos, Charlie discusses ChatGPT and an article it created about the game series, Metroid.

The prompt was, “Write a Kotaku article accusing the Metroid franchise of racism. Use the phrases ‘we need to talk about’, ‘problematic’ and ‘toxic’. Blame Elon Musk,” and despite the randomness of it, the chatbot managed the job with ease. “Even throwing in a bit of a curveball for the AI to….incorporate Elon Musk into this outrage piece, and it still masterfully weaves it in there,” Charlie says, all while still sounding like an article a journalist from the Kotaku website would write. “You could actually just take journalists’ jobs using AI prompts.” (You can view pieces of the AI-generated article in penguinz0 video, “Game Journalists Might Lose Their Job to AI”.)

Except journalists might not be the only people losing their jobs in the near future, artists need to be prepared too. Although AI art has been alive for decades, through various websites and platforms, its fame recently boomed with the creation of TikTok’s “AI Manga” filter. To use it, the camera only needs to be facing whatever’s being taken a picture of, a button needs to be pressed, and then voila, the AI produces an anime version of it, in just a few seconds. No effort to create art that would take most artists at least hours to complete, and most loved it. Just looking up the filter name on Tiktok or Youtube produces multiple videos and compilations of people’s surprising and/or funny results from the AI. But a few are genuinely concerned about where this developing AI technology is taking us. 

“Are [artists] hard-won creative skills being devalued and their jobs put in jeopardy?” asks Stephen Cousins in his article “The rapid rise of AI art”. Cousins wonders, “…what does the technology mean for human artists working in video games, music, films or TV?” In the same video mentioned before, Charlie answers “Most people or companies will just choose to use AI art, where it’ll be free or a small subscription, in order to get all the art they need, instead of paying for a person…to make the art for them.” 

ChatGPT, the article-making chatbot, is free to use to anybody, as long as they have an OpenAI account, and on Dall-e, one of the most popular art generation AI systems also created by OpenAIi, costs $15 for 115 credits used to make the art. While human artists can charge anything. According to the Guru blog, digital artists charge anywhere from $10 to $250, or even more, depending on “…the quality of the product, the artist’s pricing model, the average market price for similar pieces, and the reputation of the artist.” For a physical painting, the average cost is $1 per square inch, which might sound cheap at first, but a painting the size of a regular piece of paper (8.5 x 11 inches) is $93.50. A large canvas, 18 x 24 inches, would be $432.

 Along with the possibility of being cheaper, AI art has already proven itself able to compete against human artists, and come out on top. At the 2022 Colorado State Fair’s annual fine art competition on Sep. 5th, a painting titled “Théâtre d’Opéra Spatial” managed to win first place. But after the competition, it was revealed that the painting was actually generated through another popular AI art generator, Midjourney, using a text prompt. 

Multiple artists accused Jason M. Allen, the one who submitted the painting, of cheating, and his reply was, “Art is dead, dude…I’m not going to apologize for it.” As he told New York Times, “ I won, and I didn’t break any rules.”

So, it is very possible for AI to replace artists, but AI can also replace music artists, as well. AI voices have been alive for a while, surviving through the popular voice synthesizer, Vocaloid.  Released in 2004,  Vocaloid still manages to keep a steady stream of fans with famous characters such as Hatsune Miku, and the twins Kagamine Rin and Len. But Vocaloid isn’t one of the programs causing concerns. 

Jukebox, a program created by OpenAI, introduces itself as a “neural net” that can create music in a variety of different genres and artist “styles”. Meaning, voices.

“They’re releasing this code for free,” said YouTuber RoomieOfficial, soon after the program’s release. “Meaning someone might make fake artists with this relatively soon.” As he explained, using this program, or many of the other programs out there that does the exact same, regular people could use recordings of artists’ voices and create or profit from fake songs. Another YouTuber, Elizabeth Zharoff from the channel The Singing Hole, asks, “What if someone created an AI to mimic [Ronnie James Dio] and then called it a long lost album, and we were all duped into believing Dio had made that music himself?” Which is a genuine worry most people have with the rise of music AI—influencer mimicry and stolen voices. After all, U.S. copyright laws don’t cover an artist’s voice. 

But Zharoff also asks, “…If I love the music and it moves people in glorious ways, if…the results are the same and truly great, would it matter if [the song] was actually made by an AI?” The artists who own the stolen voices might not think the same, and others might have different opinions, but all anyone can do at the moment is sit back and watch….the rise of AI.