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OmerV

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AI photography
« on: May 10, 2018, 08:48:03 AM »

Is anyone feeling unnerved by the latest announcements of how artificial intelligence is being implemented in digital photography? I admit to being somewhat overwhelmed and dispirited by the notion of being usureped by an algorithm.

Rob C

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Re: AI photography
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2018, 09:24:43 AM »

Omer, you have to stand tall, with the rest of us dinosaurs!

It's what is changing photography from art into technique-based excellence devoid of idea.

I often used to say here that had film not existed way back when my eyes first opened, that I would never have become a photographer at all. Digital would have both left me stone cold and flown right over my head. I might have become a surveyor and worked for my wife's Dad; he did interview me when I was about to leave school, but by then... She would have made an excellent surveyor, but in the 50s it was all about gender compartments, and she was not encouraged. However, she did make it into analytical chemistry instead. She thought it was enjoyable. I thought of it as an aberration. Fortunately, our first child saved the day!

That said, digital has become my means of still working away with photographs, something that I would have abandoned had it not existed. My film/darkroom years made understanding how I wanted a picture to look, starting from a digital file, no big psychological hurdle at all. Had I been starting from scratch with digit, I think it would have been rather difficult: too many distracting possibilities and not enough discipline already instilled in the brain...

;-)

OmerV

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Re: AI photography
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2018, 10:52:05 AM »

Omer, you have to stand tall, with the rest of us dinosaurs!

It's what is changing photography from art into technique-based excellence devoid of idea.

I often used to say here that had film not existed way back when my eyes first opened, that I would never have become a photographer at all. Digital would have both left me stone cold and flown right over my head. I might have become a surveyor and worked for my wife's Dad; he did interview me when I was about to leave school, but by then... She would have made an excellent surveyor, but in the 50s it was all about gender compartments, and she was not encouraged. However, she did make it into analytical chemistry instead. She thought it was enjoyable. I thought of it as an aberration. Fortunately, our first child saved the day!

That said, digital has become my means of still working away with photographs, something that I would have abandoned had it not existed. My film/darkroom years made understanding how I wanted a picture to look, starting from a digital file, no big psychological hurdle at all. Had I been starting from scratch with digit, I think it would have been rather difficult: too many distracting possibilities and not enough discipline already instilled in the brain...

;-)

The odd thing is I know that the old boy, Henri Cartier-Bresson, was happy to let others do the editing, processing and printing of his pictures, and we all know how that turned out. But like you, I spent years in darkrooms and perhaps losing that sense of control is what bothers me.

I don't doubt that incipient photographers/artists will understand how to make art with artificial intelligence, more power to them. But for the first time I wonder what we'll loose if oil painting disappears, or a Stradivarius is perfectly mimicked by a 15 year old using a computer. Imagine a poetry book, versed by an algorithm, winning a Pulitzer. Lordy.

Yeah, a dinosaur, I guess.  :D

Telecaster

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Re: AI photography
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2018, 11:46:15 AM »

My guess is we'll see hybrid human/AI creativity rather than the latter usurping the former. A crude version of this is already in effect with your camera's auto-exposure system. It's mostly a big plus, and you can override it whenever you want.

Imagine an AI poetry generator that can not only give a human poet raw material to bend and shape but also take the poet's own work and add to or enhance that.

-Dave-
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opgr

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Re: AI photography
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2018, 01:13:19 PM »

Is anyone feeling unnerved by the latest announcements of how artificial intelligence is being implemented in digital photography? I admit to being somewhat overwhelmed and dispirited by the notion of being usureped by an algorithm.

This is exactly the reason why you should concentrate more on the content of your images and what you want to convey to your audience, than how you want to achieve that. AI is merelely a convenience tool that will let you achieve a certain look with more ease. But as soon as you use it for suggestions, it signals that you're fuzzy 'bout the concept.

Of course, some people like digital photography because they mostely like the tinkering with imagedata, and that's fine obviously, but then, yes, AI will eventually do a better job of tinkering.
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OmerV

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Re: AI photography
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2018, 03:26:15 PM »

My guess is we'll see hybrid human/AI creativity rather than the latter usurping the former. A crude version of this is already in effect with your camera's auto-exposure system. It's mostly a big plus, and you can override it whenever you want.

Imagine an AI poetry generator that can not only give a human poet raw material to bend and shape but also take the poet's own work and add to or enhance that.

-Dave-

It seems composition is whatís left for users of digital cameras, which I wonít cede to AI. And I agree that AI will undoubtedly be a tool for creative people, though it may be a generation away. Or maybe sooner, considering the adoption of tech by kids.

This is exactly the reason why you should concentrate more on the content of your images and what you want to convey to your audience, than how you want to achieve that. AI is merelely a convenience tool that will let you achieve a certain look with more ease. But as soon as you use it for suggestions, it signals that you're fuzzy 'bout the concept.

Of course, some people like digital photography because they mostely like the tinkering with imagedata, and that's fine obviously, but then, yes, AI will eventually do a better job of tinkering.

But who is to say that content inspired by AI is fuzzy, lazy, or wrong? The tools for creativity are changing rapidly, and I doubt kids will care what traditional photographers have to say.

opgr

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Re: AI photography
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2018, 08:54:27 AM »

But who is to say that content inspired by AI is fuzzy, lazy, or wrong?

I'd feel quite comfortable defending that statement to be honest. What AI primarily does is to make it easy to achieve a certain look. What it does additionally is to create a filterbubble by suggesting equivalence. If that's some future source for creativity, we'd have a serious problem at some point in time.

Remember that no matter how advanced AI will get, it can only emulate a look, not a look&feel since mood perception is a uniquely human faculty. Our perception of a certain scene, and our rendering of a corresponding capture, can convey our mood perception to others because there is reasonable equivalence in mood perception.

Similarly, inspiration is not something that will ever be emulated by AI, since there is no equivalent perception in AI.

Well, maybe in some extremely distant future, AI will start to understand human beings by footprint: it will wonder why we tried to emulate certain perceptual faculties and it will be smart enough to "understand" the essence of our perceptions from that footprint.

But the major obstacle will remain the understanding of transendence. The kind of understanding that we have of being part of some larger infinity, and the understanding that our "reasoning" is not adequate as a tool to apply to that understanding, yet AI's genesis is exactly from that reasoning.

I keep wondering about the following: i can ask any human being to imagine infinity in time or space, and the interesting part is: no one will consider me a lunatic and everyone will be able to accomplish the task in finite time. (Regardless of what is being imagined is actually sensical). So i wonder about asking an AI computer to do the same, and it primarily starts to overheat, because, well, it doesn't know when to stop...?

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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: AI photography
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 08:54:44 AM »

Not me, I embrace the future. After all, algorithms and machine learning have been part of photography for decades.

Rob C

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Re: AI photography
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 09:21:02 AM »

Not me, I embrace the future. After all, algorithms and machine learning have been part of photography for decades.

I think Oscar is right.

The things that machines can do better than we can are things that we lack the ability to do as quickly or, in many cases, as well; soul and/or expression of same is not one of those qualities.

It could well boil down to a belief in the spirit, which is perhaps a quasi-religious thing but not entirely, because even the sceptic or the atheist is able to experience such phenomena. The very fact that we are able to like or to dislike, as individuals, means that we all possess some unquantifiable or unqualifiable quality to be individualistic in our choices of + or -. That marks us out as distinct from a robot.

I'm not at all sure that dogs do not have similar abilities too. Anthropomorphism is an easy bat with which to strike such thoughts, but nevertheless, having had dogs for many years, there are times when one wonders.  I never thought much of the Hoover. Neither did the dogs: some attacked the damned thing. But "what would a dog know?" might not be such a clever thought to express. We have lost a lot of instinct.

Rob

OmerV

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Re: AI photography
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 04:40:02 PM »

I'd feel quite comfortable defending that statement to be honest. What AI primarily does is to make it easy to achieve a certain look. What it does additionally is to create a filterbubble by suggesting equivalence. If that's some future source for creativity, we'd have a serious problem at some point in time.

Remember that no matter how advanced AI will get, it can only emulate a look, not a look&feel since mood perception is a uniquely human faculty. Our perception of a certain scene, and our rendering of a corresponding capture, can convey our mood perception to others because there is reasonable equivalence in mood perception.

Similarly, inspiration is not something that will ever be emulated by AI, since there is no equivalent perception in AI.

Well, maybe in some extremely distant future, AI will start to understand human beings by footprint: it will wonder why we tried to emulate certain perceptual faculties and it will be smart enough to "understand" the essence of our perceptions from that footprint.

But the major obstacle will remain the understanding of transendence. The kind of understanding that we have of being part of some larger infinity, and the understanding that our "reasoning" is not adequate as a tool to apply to that understanding, yet AI's genesis is exactly from that reasoning.

I keep wondering about the following: i can ask any human being to imagine infinity in time or space, and the interesting part is: no one will consider me a lunatic and everyone will be able to accomplish the task in finite time. (Regardless of what is being imagined is actually sensical). So i wonder about asking an AI computer to do the same, and it primarily starts to overheat, because, well, it doesn't know when to stop...?

Is inspiration and intuition in a human infinite? Canít say, though the ability to be open to the unknown is comforting.

Not all humans can express what they feel, at least not in poetic form. To do that, we need training and understanding, and maybe empathiy though if art history teaches something, empathy is overrated as a art making tool. Writing poetry does not flow from inspiration alone, nor does good photography happen solely by intuition. We are limited by what we learn or donít, and while I hope never to hear an AI musical composition the equal of a Beethoven, I know that AI is a human creation, and imagination is a learned process.

I think Oscar is right.

The things that machines can do better than we can are things that we lack the ability to do as quickly or, in many cases, as well; soul and/or expression of same is not one of those qualities.

It could well boil down to a belief in the spirit, which is perhaps a quasi-religious thing but not entirely, because even the sceptic or the atheist is able to experience such phenomena. The very fact that we are able to like or to dislike, as individuals, means that we all possess some unquantifiable or unqualifiable quality to be individualistic in our choices of + or -. That marks us out as distinct from a robot.

I'm not at all sure that dogs do not have similar abilities too. Anthropomorphism is an easy bat with which to strike such thoughts, but nevertheless, having had dogs for many years, there are times when one wonders.  I never thought much of the Hoover. Neither did the dogs: some attacked the damned thing. But "what would a dog know?" might not be such a clever thought to express. We have lost a lot of instinct.

Rob


Yes, spirit and soul. And faith, without which we might not exist. More than a dinasour I feel like an anachronism. Iíve read more than a few times how some film photographers have become better by switching to digital, and I too sometimes sense it. But I also feel a facileness in digital that belies any sense of accomplishment, such as it is.

F**k it, time to buy a new camera.  8)

 
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