Last image is handmade, shame on me. No AIs were disturbed in its creation.
Everyone lurking for a few minutes on the internet has encountered those intriguing and uncanny images, subtitled "made with the help of an AI." It's time for a longer reflection than usual on the subject, because I'm feeling deeply concerned.
Those programs, such as Dall-E or Midjourney, are able to generate images with only written description of the wanted subject (and you can also add details such as the graphic style). Some are very "photorealistic," but most create very odd and disturbing digital paintings. Of course, the software was quickly used to produce Lovecraftian illustrations, with some genuine success. The "intelligences" behind those processes mostly browse through millions of existing images and combine structural and graphic elements, faster than humans can.
It is a tool, immature and imperfect, but with virtually unlimited potentialities. We've seen new graphic tools before, with huge implications. Photography was introduced to a world that had only known painting, and that changed how people painted. I myself have learned airbrushing with some gifted illustrators, but this demanding tool was quickly overwhelmed by computer aided drawing, at least for technical illustrations. My mentors had to adapt or change their field of activities.
Seeing an army of new self-entitled "illustrators" flooding the net with impressive images is a bit disturbing, not to say depressing. As an "illustrator," I feel a bit guilty to have exposed all my works to the universal window of web-browsers. Sites such as DeviantArt, Artstation or personal galleries are the main fuel for those AIs, which are now able to mimic each and every scanned image, without conscience (and absolutely no copyright control). "Luckily," illustration is not my main source of income, but I have empathy for the people working only in that field, who may face an impending doom. AIs will soon be used in other "departments" such as animation or 3D modeling (and this will be more worrying still).
Going against progress is, of course, not the solution. Adapting to those new ways of working is key. Or not. There are still realistic painters, even with the gazillion of cameras now on earth. And people still use airbrushes. Art works in mysterious ways.
and here are some samples, I let you connect the dots...