Is Wall-E Taking My Dream Job?

Artificial intelligence is pushing into new territory everyday. Will it even push out artists and graphic designers?

By Bailen Hayford

An older brother asks his brother what he should draw. The brother jumps with glee. His mind filling with the never-ending possibilities of paper and a pencil, he blurts out, “Cowboy riding a gecko!” This abnormal sentence of unexpected circumstances puzzles the older brother; he responds, “Choose something different.” The waves of imagination cease to crash on the beaches of creativity. “Spiderman,” the younger brother says with disappointment seeping from his eyes.

Cowboy riding a gecko. The older brother gave up on the idea because it was too hard to imagine the proportions and perspective that he would have to draw. But what if it was easier, what if he didn’t have to do any work? He doesn’t have to. In the past months art-creating AI has taken over social media. Why wouldn’t it? An AI that can make anything in great detail in a matter of seconds; this is the thing of dreams. But to me, this is a dream crusher. These AI scare me immensely. I work mostly with digital art, so to see an AI making mind-bending art in seconds makes me wonder if my dream job will even be a job in the future.

So what does the future look like for me? I truly couldn’t tell you, but we can look at the present. Many of these pieces AI created have sold for tens of thousands of dollars to people who don’t have the eye to see that their art is made by an AI. A major company that sells digital art, Getty Images, has already stated that they will not sell this AI art. As of now the AI has a few problems with fingers, many people in one artwork, text, and placing things in other things. What the AI does best is copy other people’s art styles, and it copies them with every brush stroke. Businesses will abuse this AI. Many companies have used this AI to create magazine covers, social media posts, and other art that has to be made on a deadline. Once the AI gets advanced enough I don’t see why a money-hungry company wouldn’t fire their graphic designers in favor of AI that can do the work of a human in seconds. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this idea hasn’t already been brought up to a circle of men in suits.

But why do we buy art? Because it looks cool, sure. But also because of the emotions behind the art, within the artist. Why do we spend so much money on name-brand clothes, or why did a painting of a red square sell for $60 million? Because we love the name behind them. I see two things happening. A group of people will love the speed and cheapness of AI-created art while others will think it is soulless and will be more than happy to pay more for a human to create their art. People love the process of art and love a story.

To the young boy, it wasn’t just about seeing a cool picture of a cowboy riding a gecko, it was about getting a piece of art from the person he looked up to the most. Art has this same brotherly relationship.

I was scared about the skill this AI had and forgot the reason I made art, to please people.  So to all the older brothers who want to make astounding work for people around the world, keep practicing, Wall-e can’t take your job.

Photo: “Can I Help You? bw” by Eric Jusino on Flickr