The AI art phenomenon: Is it art?

There is one unassailable fact about art that surpasses time, culture, and all other barriers — it’s about the imagination, creativity, and passion of the artist. Those are the human qualities that make every piece unique; that make different works of art speak to different people. 

How do you feel about this creation? What does it say to you?

Property of Pinder Van Armen /

Do you feel differently knowing it was created by a machine, rather than a human? Welcome to the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) art.

AI art is created by machine learning. Programmers write algorithms that analyze thousands of images, and the computer ‘learns’ an aesthetic from those images. From that, it generates a new image. In other words, much of the result is left up to chance. 

The first question asked among the art community is, of course, are pieces created by algorithms even art? The next question becomes, who is the real artist — the computer or the programmer?

Now, there is certainly a creative process involved. The AI artist must locate and curate the images to serve the algorithm. There is thought and intent behind that, just no guarantee of outcome. But this still involves an artist and their tools working together to create something unique and visually appealing. In its true essence, isn’t that art?

Some purists will argue that these works will always lack that personal touch that a machine could never reproduce. With traditional art, you can often get a sense of the artist’s inspiration from people, their senses, and the world around them. But, remember, that was the argument against photography as an art form in the beginning, too.

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