PERSPECTIVES : Why AI is Often Synonymous With BS

Courtesy Getty Images

Courtesy Getty Images

The buzzword in photographic editing is AI or Artificial Intelligence. Sorry mirrorless lovers, Mirrorless is no longer the buzzword of the year. AI sounds all marvellous and such but are these software packages really artificial intelligence, or are they really just a package of more sophisticated algorithms. Or worse, are they encodings of popular looks to be found on Social Media.

A hallmark of the concept of intelligence is being self aware. The entire idea of artificial intelligence is something created by something else, ie humans that is logical, emotional and self aware. More loosely, AI refers to the ability of a machine to perform problem solving or learning. If you follow the marketing sludge, AI is whatever the marketer’s want to call it.

Thus, because these software applications are thankfully not self aware, they are not really AI. And like the brilliant Dr. Stephen Hawking, it’s my position that we as humans ought to be very very careful with real AI

The genie is out of the bottle. We need to move forward on artificial intelligence development but we also need to be mindful of its very real dangers. I fear that AI may replace humans altogether. If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that will outperform humans.

You may take the position that photo editing AI is not likely to self evolve into Terminators, and you can hold any position on that topic that you wish. What is more important to true creatives, as opposed to copy machines, is that creativity is entirely personal, and if there is actually real AI in any of this software, (and I think that it is all marketing bullshit), then you are no longer the creative if you allow an AI to modify your work.

This may not seem like a big deal, but extend the concept out to copyright and image integrity. Since all AI software phones home in the background and shares a lot of information about how it is used, (this is how it gets “smarter”) then who is actually doing the work? Is it you, or the machine?

I would take the position that if you use software to help you manage digital noise, that is a personal decision about if and how you apply an algorithm. If you use an AI to manage digital noise, what contribution did you make other than pressing a button? Which one is the unintelligent robot now?

AI in photo editing software is not real AI. It is much more powerful algorithms than we have seen in the past, and if you are still in control of it, it’s no different than the plethora of presets delivered to lazy people by other people who have figured out that they can make money off of people who don’t want to learn how, they just want to have. The good news for those folks is that they will be the last ones killed by Terminators because their mindless adoption of someone else’s work will mean that they are no threat at all.

Someone who works hard to become adept at any creative process, be it painting, sculpting, photography or some form of digital art, which would include advanced Photoshop, is not interested in AI because these people understand that the journey is more important than the destination and that solving the problem is the reward in itself.

Those who want to blast alleged AI at something are no different than the ones who went hard down the presets path and then jumped all over LUTs. Unimaginative, non-creative sheeple. I suppose that they are good for something, but I cannot imagine what that might be.

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I'm Ross Chevalier, thanks for reading, watching and listening and until next time, peace.