I found these examples of robotically generated art and music to be polished and appealing. But something kept nagging at me: What happens in a world where effort and scarcity are no longer part of the definition of art?
A mass-produced print of the Mona Lisa is worth less than the actual Leonardo painting. Why? Scarcity—there’s only one of the original. But Amper churns out another professional-quality original piece of music every time you click “Render.” Elgammal’s AI painter can spew out another 1,000 original works of art with every tap of the enter key. It puts us in a weird hybrid world where works of art are unique—every painting is different—but require almost zero human effort to produce. Should anyone pay for these things? And if an artist puts AI masterpieces up for sale, what should the price be?
That’s not just a thought experiment, either. Soon the question “What’s the value of AI artwork and music?” will start impacting flesh-and-blood consumers. It has already, in fact.