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IS photography being rewritten by AI?
Recent weeks have seen a flurry of media coverage about increasingly convincing Artificial Intelligence (AI) image generation. Should the sector be worried?
Hamish Crooks, Chair of the Association of Photographers, shares his perspective with Rachel Erskine, co-chair of Bond’s People in the Pictures working group.
To someone not working in the photography industry, the growth of AI image generation can seem inevitable and irreversible. How do you see things?
To be brutally honest, it’s exciting stuff! When you see what’s possible in other disciplines such as health or medicine and science, of course it’s exciting, from an inventive and creative point of view. But what I’ve learned is that most AI systems only do one thing, or at least only do one thing well. No one has yet made a multi-functioning AI that’s interconnected across a range of disciplines – the keyword being yet! A lot of what’s out there is very early days. But AI will improve and find its niche. We’re never going to put the genie back in the bottle and if we look at the way social media companies lobbied governments globally and went almost unregulated for 20 years, I think there’s reason to be wary. Regulation will be needed. When the companies themselves ask for regulation, then that does make me worry. There is a certain style of photography that NGOs like, and AI will learn that: it’s not there yet, but it will be.
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