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Step 82: Art and AI

Artful Antics in the Artificial Age

Beyond near-term hype, as AI increasingly penetrates cultural realms like art, urgent questions arise around human creativity versus artificial generation.

This lecture traverses philosophical tensions from Cybernetics to Marxism to Silicon Valley god-complexes shaping our AI future, as well as considering aura, human dignity, and the limits of technology.

In the episode, Ryder gives an art talk at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, Roswell, NM on January 6th, 2024. (part of the RAiR programming)


  • 0:00 AI use and knowledge among attendees at a museum talk.
  • 2:07 Art, creativity, and life experiences with Ryder Richards.
  • 4:24 AI, cybernetics, and their impact on society.
  • 9:46 Merging humans with machines for progress.
  • 13:04 The intersection of technology, evolution, and humanity.
  • 20:52 Using AI for art generation and prototyping.
  • 24:21 AI, creativity, and ownership in the art world.
  • 30:14 AI creativity and bias in image recognition.
  • 34:01 AI, machine learning, and the future of technology.
  • 41:10 Technology’s impact on humanity and emotion.
  • 44:38 AI creativity, processing power, and data quality.
  • 52:21 AI-generated content and its limitations.
  • 55:55 Data sets, copyright, and ethics in AI.
  • 1:00:58 AI image generation and its impact on art and society.
  • 1:03:30 AI-generated art, authenticity, and bias.
  • 1:08:58 AI, machine learning, and their potential impact on society.

Step 82: Art & AI

Artful Antics in an Artificial Age

A lecture diving into the promises and perils of AI in art through artist Ryder Richards’ recent museum lecture on technology’s impact on creativity, humanity, bias, consciousness, and our shared future. The full essay, which Richards loosely follows and elaborates upon, can be found here.

Step 82: Art & AI

The Future of Art and AI: Promises and Perils

Artificial intelligence (AI) has exploded onto the cultural scene, raising pressing questions about the role of technology in art and society. Artist and thinker Ryder Richards recently gave a lecture analyzing AI through a philosophical lens, exploring its potential promises and perils.

Understanding AI Adoption

Richards began by taking the pulse of AI adoption, finding about a quarter to a third of attendees actively using AI for creative pursuits. With hype swirling, many came curious to know more. Richards set forth to report his findings from the AI landscape.

Weaving history, art, and philosophy, Richards traced how we arrived at this crossroads. He discussed early 20th-century visions of fusing humans and machines, driven by the worship of progress, machinery, and speed. Richards questioned assumptions of human rationality and effectiveness, asking if AI necessarily leads to worse outcomes.

The Allure and Alienation of AI

Richards suggested that while AI promises to democratize creativity, it may also distance us from the personal touch of craft. He demonstrated how artists employ AI to generate variations and select results. While convenient, this process mediates the human-object bond. Richards pondered if submissions lack an imprint of humanity itself.

Reckoning with Bias

Examining racial and gender bias in AI datasets, Richards noted the need to peer inside “black box” algorithms. He considered whether language models actually “think” creatively. While founders exude optimism, their infighting hardly inspires confidence. With AI infiltrating emotional resonance and politics, vigilance seems vital.

The Sentient Machine?

Richards explored speculation that glitches enable AI creativity, just as neurological differences may have sparked human innovation. He discussed AI’s potential for independent evolution, questioning our ability to discern machine consciousness. If the future remains opaque, Richards suggested artists’ role is to absorb and share cultural truths.

Owning Our Creations

Lawsuits against AI companies form growing resistance. But will profit motives trump ethics? How do we balance an accelerating economy with human dignity? As the lines blur between creator and creation, now is the time to ponder what kind of future we want to code.

Thank you!


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