NFT and AI: A (de)generated art?

It is impossible to miss recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. Increasingly sophisticated, dedicated applications are bursting into the NFT and cryptocurrency ecosystem. By adding an artificial overlay to an already very speculative sector, AI is causing debate, even among digital artists and crypto-art. If until now, NFT projects were relatively artisanal, are we now going to witness a surge of collections generated by artificial intelligence?

NFT: The generative art of AI, a trend that is confirmed. already told you about it in 2022, the trend seems to be confirmed more than ever. We know the propensity of the cryptosphere to seize the latest novelties with enthusiasm. We thus begin to witness extensive use of AI applied to crypto-art. While NFTs are already far removed from traditional artistic work, this time another step seems to have been taken: you can now create your collection in less than five minutes. Then, all you have to do is tokenize it via the blockchain and offer it on Opensea or other marketplaces like rare.

In 2019, AI-DA became the first robot artist in the world, and also the first machine to make a speech in front of the British Parliament. Since then, artificial intelligence has been democratized: it is accessible to General public. In a few clicks, you can therefore very quickly create very attractive images from a simple text, called “prompt”. Midjourney, Dall-E or Stable Diffusion are among the most popular applications.

With free access (but limited in quantity or time), these platforms appeal more and more users : simply curious, graphic design professionals, artists or techno-enthusiasts. A quick search on the Midjourney discord also shows the enthusiasm of the crypto community for this technology. There are, for example, prompts such as “Bitcoin logo with an astronaut walking on the moon” or “Ethereum nightmare”. The imagination of Internet users seems to be the only limit to the generation of these images, which are often stunning and fascinating.

Gender confusion

Online art communities like DeviantArt, ArtStation or Newgrounds are now overwhelmed by this whole new way of making art. This is why many of them choose to exclude AI artists, regarded as profiteers, even fraudsters. Problem: the images generated are so difficult to detect that some real artists have been banned, wrongly accused of using the AI ​​themselves…
Are images generated by artificial intelligence art? Two visions of the world now clash. Either way, the AI ​​impresses with its growing power in the field of automatic image generation.

A robot painting its self-portrait.  Illustration of artificial intelligence applied to NFTs.
Image generated by the author via the application Midjourney.

In this context, THE crypto-degen appear today at the top of their game. In the ecosystem, a crypto-degen means an unwise speculator. Often, it is associated with a person who makes particularly unreasonable use of technologies related to cryptocurrencies. Artificial intelligence applied to NFTs clearly falls within this framework. These new degenerate artists are now exploring what looks like an emerging, lawless market. NFT, crypto and AI: this is the explosive cocktail that has every chance of becoming an speculative viral phenomenon. Because in this new far west digital, the massive use of AI does not (yet) know any moral limits. Similarly, the issue of copyright and authorship of works is far from settled.

THE AI artistsor the art of generating NFTs

So, the frenzy of images adds to the wild speculation surrounding NFTs. We remember the crazy auction around the NFT of the artist Beeple. Sold at $69.3 million, it is the third most expensive work of art by a living artist. For the digital artist Albertine Meunier, active since 1998, this sale is above all a “communication operation”. A kind of show of force on the part of those who pay cash (in crypto) for works at crazy prices. According to her, it is above all a question of showing that People who have money are people who have cryptocurrencies ».

Albertine Meunier generates some of her works herself via AI. They are currently selling for around ten Tezos (a French cryptocurrency), or around $9. We are therefore a long way from the staggering sums of “crypto-Mona Lisa”. As for the aesthetic result, we let you judge. But the artist has obviously chosen to poke fun at his own experience with AI, with a collection soberly titled “ Albertine Meunier is eating sausages and chips “.

More generally, AI is also revolutionizing the world of design. Many graphic designers or web designers now use it on a daily basis. Likewise, in the crypto ecosystem, more and more projects are combining blockchain with artificial intelligence. The online gallery Sirens released a collection about the war in Ukraine. The profit from the sale of these NFTs will be donated to several organizations for the reconstruction of the country. You would have understood it, AI is deployed everywhere, and primarily in the field of art NFTs. For the moment, the amounts are still far from being able to compete with the most expensive NFTs, made in the traditional way. But aren’t we at the dawn of a revolution in the digital art market?

Crypto-art and AI, a new philosophy

The phenomenon raises other questions: are the images generated art? What legal status should be granted to these works? Who owns it? To whom belong the Copyright ? To the artist, to the software publisher, or even to the machine?

Moreover, the incredible profusion of these images leaves you wondering. Aren’t works of art being diluted, excessively saturated by the immense wealth of available data? This paradigm shift worries as much as it fascinates. The intensive use of artificial intelligence is opening up new avenues and posing serious philosophical questions for artists and art lovers. Indeed, faced with the abundance of generated images, what remains of the value of an artist’s work ? The NFT market could thus shoot itself in the foot by rushing into these new automated practices. Who would be willing to buy “digital rarity” that has very little rare left, because it is unlimited?

Despite everything, strong criticism also existed at the beginning of the NFT phenomenon. It is therefore doubtful that such moral considerations can really curb the appetite of crypto investors. On the contrary, the NFT bubble could further strengthen through the viral AI trend. At the same time, artificial intelligence is also making a spectacular technological breakthrough with text generation software. had also relayed the story that OpenAI was giving of the history of bitcoin, with an amazingly creative result. One thing is certain: AI has not finished talking about it in the crypto ecosystem.

The cover image for this article was made using Midjourney’s AI.

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