AI or artificial intelligence is everywhere now.  A huge number of programs have the ability to write text for you and now you can generate AI images too by simply using software to convert your words into images.  Imagine trying to explain that to someone born in the 1920’s!!  (Just a thought that occurred to me while I was typing – and yes I wrote this not a robot)

But why would you want to do either?

If you have a creative block it can be great to get some words to start you off, or perhaps some image ideas if what you want to do is a bit different.  Then maybe I can understand it.

BUT ….

So I went off to explore this world of AI images.  There are a number of sites out there offering it.  I simply put in the words “a fast food beef burger with cheese and salad” and this is what I got back:

AI Image, like the one above, created using the words "fast food beef burger with cheese and salad"

AI Image, like the one above, created using the words “fast food beef burger with cheese and salad”

I had to add the NOT MY IMAGE words to it as this isn’t something I’d want to pass off as mine, a bit like the one in the header.  I’m guessing on the whole it’s not bad given it doesn’t exist.  But the cheese looks far from real and I’d not be keen on eating either of those burgers! What do you think?

What is lost using AI?

The fact is that when I write, I’ve learnt that I have a certain tone of voice.  Whether you like it or dislike it, is besides the point, it’s there and it’s what makes me, me.  If I ask a bot (for want of a better expression – apologies to anything or anyone I may upset by that remark) to do this for me then it doesn’t have my tone of voice.  At least not yet and I pray it never gets that far.  Or is that a matter of time?  What sort of world would that be?

When it comes to imagery, as you can see from the images below that I conjured up on AI using the words “A fast food burger with cheese and salad” – this is what came up.

Now some people may be happy with that, some people may say that’s the future.  

I can see a whole lot of things wrong with that, but most importantly, where’s the authenticity?  Where’s the soul?

If we lose those values what have we got left?  And who do we believe?

Why I think AI Imagery leads to a loss of Integrity and Honesty

For me as a photographer, and a huge foodie, food feeds the soul, it’s part of our history and I hope part of our future.  It brings people together, it gives us pleasure, it’s something we share, it holds memories and moments.  All of that is what a photographer captures whether it’s food or something else. It’s the details, it’s the effort that went into creation, it’s the effort that goes into service, its the effort of creating the right scene for the image and the list goes on.

I’m well aware that quite often photographers create false imagery in that food is dyed, made inedible, made to look better than it is.  But what does all of that achieve?  It may make a nice looking image BUT is that how the food really looks?  Is that exactly what you’ll get when you show up hungry?

No!  it isn’t. So why give a false impression? I believe that the food I shoot should be edible at the end of the shoot – food wastage isn’t something I want to be responsible for.  But nor is having people find that the food ordered isn’t as good as the images showed.  That doesn’t do my clients or me any good at all.  Yes, dress to impress, and make it looks it’s best, but don’t over bake the offering EVER!

So in my view, it may be quicker, cheaper and faster to create AI images of your food, products or whatever, BUT it’s not authentic! If you look closely it’s not real.  Yes the margin between real and unreal looking is getting less but isn’t that worrying in itself?

What does using AI imagery say about you and your business to the outside world?

In my humble view it says you are cheating and probably not to be trusted.  You are cutting corners there, so where else are you cutting corners and how might that impact on me as a customer?

I’ve been involved in VR and haptics in the past, where I was using it for real good – I may do a post about that soon.  Sadly however I think the good that it could do has been turned around and won’t create a better world at all, just one full of distrust.

We already have to think twice before clicking links, once images of our nearest and dearest start popping up and seem authentic, and are being used against us, how will we cope.  I for one don’t want to live in a world full of deep distrust and I can’t help fearing this is where this is leading.  I could be wrong and perhaps overly cynical.  BUT ….

I want to know that the businesses I use, the food and products I buy are all authentically produced and represented by those businesses.  Yes we all know that certain fast food outlets real food looks nothing like their images, but this goes just one step too far as it doesn’t even exist.

CGI artists have been working to put photographers out of a job for a while, it seems that AI may now try the same with them.  Funny old world.

My suggestion for what its worth:

Do yourself, your business and others a favour, stay authentic.

If you can’t take the images you need or write the words you need with the passion needed, find a real ‘live’ expert who can do the job for you and with real understanding, while the option still exists.

For me AI should be Authentic Imagery not Artificial Intelligence and if you work with me, you’ll get truly authentic and creative imagery that helps you to stand out in the market place with integrity.

Give me a shout to discuss some authentic imagery and let’s get the ball rolling.

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