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  • Writer's pictureBL Gilleon

Rise of the Shutter-Bots: Why I'm Not Worried About Being Replaced by AI

Updated: Feb 14

We live in an age where nearly every industry and avenue of life is being transformed by artificial intelligence, and there are many reasonable concerns about automation replacing the manual workforce. Photography and visual artists are seeing advancements from AI faster than we can comprehend them; however, there are a couple compelling reasons why I don't think we need to worry about our jobs being outsourced to our robot overlords.


Vision and Creativity


One thing about humans is: we're creative! We are the most resourceful species on the planet, and as long as there have been humans, there have been artists. Some of us will always be driven to create, whereas artificial intelligence lacks personal vision and experience. It has to be coded, and while AI can analyze patterns far faster than we can, it simply doesn't have the capability for nuance and the emotional storytelling that a real photograph can provide. A photographer brings emotion, individuality, and insight to a session, honed over years of exploration and learning.


The first image, while beautiful, is a rendering of a woman who doesn't exist, enjoying a day that never happened. The second is the reality of a young woman who made a day of creating beautiful art. She has the visceral connection of remembering the chill of the water, the smell of the flowers, and the laughs we had popping the heads off flowers and splashing around in an inflatable baby pool!


Emotional Connection


We connect with photos on a very primal level, the images that speak to us the strongest are the ones that make us feel. Often times, these feelings are attached to personal experiences that can't be replicated: a photo of Grandma in the kitchen at Thanksgiving, or a child coming down the slide at a playground that no longer exists. While we may be able to digitally render similar images, that will never be the same as capturing a specific moment in time, freezing it to look back on in years to come. Many of these photos will be taken with our phones or whatever camera is most convenient, but when you schedule a professional shoot, you're creating a time and space for yourself or with the people you love, and documenting that time with beautiful reminders that convey vulnerability, joy, love, and any of a million other emotions that are components of our favorite pictures.


The photos we love the most are often the ones that are impossible to recreate later: fleeting years of childhood, or the rare coincidences of being in the right place at the right time for a great shot!


It Isn't As Easy As It Looks!


While AI appears to be everywhere, good AI is not. There are apps that will render an image for free, but try to print it and it's a pixelated mess. Suddenly you've got thirteen fingers and your dog is a Lovecraftian nightmare because the generator didn't quite know what it was looking for. I'm certain that in the very near future, artists who specialize in generating these images will be able to do it very convincingly - but in this way, it's just another new tool for artists. When cameras came along, people probably warned painters that they'd no longer be relevant, but we certainly still have painters today. The difference is we have painters and photographers, and the world will never suffer for having "too much" art.


Keep creating, fellow humans!

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