Where the AI Art Boom Came From—and Where It’s Going

Jan 12, 2023 7:00 AM

Where the AI Art Boom Came From—and Where It’s Going

In the past year algorithms got a lot better at generating illustrations, art, and photo-real scenes. Next up? Video.

Where the AI Art Boom Came From—and Where Its Going

Illustration: Yazmin Monet Butcher; Alyssa Walker; Getty Images

It used to be widely thought that creative work would be one of the last things to be automated. After 2022, some may reconsider.

In the space of a few months last year, several powerful tools for creating art with AI just by typing in a few words became widely available. The quality of illustrations, photographs, and paintings that can be made that way improved remarkably. Some commercial artists are experimenting with the technology—although not all like it—and stock photo services are preparing to offer AI generated images.

That rapid progress set entrepreneurs racing to build products and companies around AI image generators. Researchers continue to refine the technology. WIRED recently got to experiment with one of the first AI tools capable of generating video, developed by researchers at Meta. The clips aren't flawless, but comparing them with examples from the years of research leading up to 2022’s AI art explosion provides a visual timeline of a technology maturing rapidly from lab experiment to product prototype.

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Will Knight is a senior writer for WIRED, covering artificial intelligence. He was previously a senior editor at MIT Technology Review, where he wrote about fundamental advances in AI and China’s AI boom. Before that, he was an editor and writer at New Scientist. He studied anthropology and journalism in… Read more
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