German artist, Mario Klingemann, has made headlines after he refused to accept an award for a piece of artwork created by an artificial intelligence (AI) program that he developed. The AI-generated image, titled “Memories of Passersby I”, won the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica prize in the category of “artificial intelligence and life art”.
While Klingemann played a key role in creating the AI algorithm behind the artwork, he stated that he could not accept the award as it did not align with his artistic values and principles.
German Artist Refuses Award After His AI Image Wins Prize
According to PetaPixel, there is some controversy in the photography community as a result of an AI-generated image taking home a significant award at a prestigious competition. Despite not being taken with a camera, Boris Eldagsen’s photograph The Electrician won first place in the Creative category of the Sony World Photography Awards. Eldagsen later declined the prize, stating that “AI is not photography. I submitted an application to see if AI entries were permitted in the competitions. Not at all.
The photograph by Eldagsen is part of a series called PSEUDOMNESIA: Fake Memories that aims to evoke a 1940s-era photographic aesthetic. The truth is that they are “fake memories of a past, that never existed, that no one photographed,” according to the author. The “inpainting,” “outpainting,” and “prompt whispering” techniques were used to create these images, which were then edited 20 to 40 times more by AI image generators.
Eldagsen detailed how he used his photographic expertise to produce the winning image in a blog post, serving as the process directly with the AI generators as its “co-creators.” Despite being inspired by photography, he claimed that the submission’s main point is that it is not photography.
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By taking part in open calls, I hope to hasten the process by which the Award’s organizers recognize this distinction and establish distinct competitions for AI-generated images. Eldagsen later turned down the award. It is the first AI-generated image to win in a prestigious international photography competition, he wrote.
“Thank you for selecting my image and making this a historic moment,” he wrote. How many of you knew or thought it was an AI-generated image? This just doesn’t feel right in some way, doesn’t it? In a contest like this, photography and AI images shouldn’t compete against one another. They are distinct things.
The image was removed from the website for the competition and show shortly after, and the organizers have not yet made any comments. Eldagsen actually made the trip to London for the ceremony and even made an uninvited appearance on stage to read a statement.
It’s unclear whether the event’s planners were aware that the work was produced using AI (Eldagsen claimed to have told them this). In any case, they ought to be embracing the circumstance rather than running away from it. Over the past year, artificial intelligence (AI) has significantly influenced culture, winning both photo and art competitions recently. Eldagsen’s piece will undoubtedly spark discussions about how to handle it, especially when it intrudes into conventional media.