The fundamental problem is that we only get better by *doing*, but our laziness wants to get better by *having*. As I get older, I realize the importance in savoring that process. The only way to "having done" is through "doing". So I try to enjoy the slow progression of working on myself and my skills, even when it's hard and my results are pitiful compared to what can be found online.

But the bigger world shaped by social media, feels like it's pushing in a different way. So be it. Let them have it.

I don't mean to denigrate those who are actively exploring AI art, but the cheap commodification of AI products is pushing me towards decidedly reactionary stance (back to pen and paper!).

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Your mention of “transformation” as a pre-requisite for Art provides (at least me) a really helpful framework for talking about AI and its impact on creative endeavors, much more so than the other debates around whether AI can “produce art”. Of course it can, insomuch as it can produce compelling visual canvases that people will respond to, both emotionally and commercially.

But whether the creator was in some way transformed via the making of the art, and whether that transformation lends those pieces more weight, is really interesting. In a way it intersects with your ongoing discussions around process, and how for many the process is more important than the final piece. In AI the final piece is really all there is, since the “process” from a creative standpoint is akin to microwaving a meal. It can taste good and provide sustenance to the consumer, but you as the “chef” put nothing of yourself into it.

My initial fascination with MidJourney was that I could throw a string of words together that conveyed some mental image I had and watch as the AI converted that into often intriguing results, as if it were somehow acting as a bridge between my subconscious and the world, making manifest thoughts and emotions that I otherwise could not express. And there lies the rub in terms of transformation - even if the resulting image was an accurate representation of some inner part of me, did I grow in any way or learn anything by its rendering? Nope. I just had the Matrix suck it out of me.

Now, if AI could produce output that caused me to reflect in ways I hadn’t before, and then channel that reflection into another creative expression, or a new way of interpreting the world, then would that count as transformative? In other words, if AI prompted me, would that be a collaboration worth pursuing?

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I've tried some AI. It's boring to me. And I see all of the AI images people create, and they're fantastic and usually surreal, sometimes interesting only because they're done with AI.

I think perhaps these things will just become ho-hum, much like anything just photoshopped now feels. And eventually there will be galleries full of this AI stuff and those who use our hands to make will stand out for having created something different.

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I am definitely exploring AI for text generation / the trusty, always available intern concept has tremendous utility to me in my daily work. Moving past the blinking cursor/blank page has been super powerful in my first handful of attempts. I am not ready to embrace AI to generate new visuals. I do see uses of AI to expand/post process my existing work without changing its meaning to me or others. I don't want my memory (years from now) of image creation to be what shirt I was wearing when I made the original image on my computer. Plus, I really enjoy the meditative, contemplative joy I get from photography and its benefits on my mental health.

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