Artificial intelligence is coming for photographers, just not in the way you're thinking.
While there's a lot of buzz around tools such as DALL-E 2 and others that can create art from just a few words typed in as a prompt, photographers are generally less than enthused.
As Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography explains, the value of digital goods will always trend down towards zero, meaning that after digital photography hit such dizzying heights with the value of NFTs in the last couple years, it's about to come crashing down as AI makes it so that most companies and people will likely opt for what's free and available with just a few clicks rather than commissioning a photographer and paying more for an original photograph.
And, with what AI produces, what constitutes an original photograph? As Karnacz points out with a borrowed phrase from YouTuber and engineer Fran Blanche: "AI is plagiarizing our past to generate our future." What's basically happening is that AI is scraping photos by living, breathing photographers on the internet and putting them in a blender to spit out lookalikes that could potentially land users in legal hot water. And even if it doesn't, the one thing that the AI won't have, Karnacz notes, is the story to go with capturing the photo.
It's between that storytelling and another aspect that Karnacz will be the main draw of doing photography the AI-less old-fashioned way, and that aspect is printing out photos. While AI, for now, only generates lower-resolution images, photographers can create large prints of their work, make unique, one-of-a-kind physical objects that actually have value. It's this practice that will keep photographers photographing, even as the use of AI grows, Karnacz says.
And in case you're wondering about the prompts I used for DALL-E 2 to generate the lead image for this article: "Robot taking a picture with a camera" and "Exploding photographer." DALL-E 2 then used its somewhat twisted imagination to come up with the two photos I combined into a composite.
What do you think AI will mean for photographers in the future? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.