AI Art Is the Least of Our Problems

Tony Russo
5 min readJan 23, 2023
Photo by Rabah Al Shammary on Unsplash

I don’t think about AI a lot, but it’s on my radar. If you haven’t been following along at all, ChatGPT has gotten some people orgasmic and others screamingly anxious about the possibilities of AI-assisted writing. The shortest version I can give here is that if you give the right AI machine the right premise, it can cobble together a story or help compose an outline. It also can fix or elaborate upon one of yours.

Because it’s on the internet AI has become a divisive topic, which is why it bores me. Once everyone has planted their flags and made hating or loving a thing part of their personality, it’s not worth talking about. I’ve gone over all of this before.

In writing, there’s a future where you feed all of a genre-writers works (say, Robert Ludlum or James Patterson) into AI and it continues writing their novels for them. No grad students needed and no real loss to the culture.

The only reason I wanted to bring up AI today is because I saw two vaguely connected things that have made me rethink art.

The first was this Tweet:

Just as AI can write stories, it also can make art. In fact, it’s better at art than at stories and this has people a little het-up. The quick version of the way it works is you feed the AI some inspiration photos/drawings/paintings and it uses them to make something new.

I find this really intriguing, and, although I haven’t experimented with it yet, I can’t imagine ever paying a graphic designer to combine stock images into a graphic or book cover for me again.

I want to be really clear here, superior art and competent graphic design work are worth paying for if you can afford it. Those of us who occupy the middle range of what we can reasonably afford get middling work back.

I really like the cover for my book, Dragged Into the Light, but the guy who made it knocks book covers out the way I knock out advertorial: competently but without love. AI may elevate hacks to mediocrity, but that’s as far…

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Tony Russo

Pencil-sharpening enthusiast, journalist, author of “Dragged Into the Light” https://amzn.to/3bLQ0Wi