How the explosion of AI applications is impacting artistic expression

By Nick Thiong’o

We are living in a new world, somewhat disconnected from our yesteryears as the current social order goes under a rapid transformation. The era of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is accelerating a burst of activity in organisational learning, science, intellectual assets, art and music; we have entered an ethereal realm with boundless potential.  

As a multifaceted content creator, I am at the front row seat of witnessing the disruption of writing, drawing, sound engineering and film production in the wake of the advent of AI, an undisputedly the single most disruptive technology the world has seen since the Industrial Revolution.

A few years ago as a budding illustrator, I remember how I marvelled at Rotring and Artline pens as Muigai Goko (whose pen name is IGAH) and Godfrey Mwampembwa (GADO), both renowned East African caricaturists, took me through the basics of framing and inking comics. 

Digital drawing would later disrupt the art industry as digital drawing boards such as Wacom Cintiq and Huion transformed the drawing experience, with otherworldly speeds and efficiency.

Enter the digital DaVinci’s and Van Goghs such that are displacing artists through machine learning. Data scientists have now developed robo-artists out of digital neuron clusters called recurrent neural networks.

With any surreal prompt, AI art and image generators such as Dall-E, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney can conceptualize and produce any image corresponding to your prompting creativity. These AI generating capabilities have quickly spread to other facets of artistic expression, with video generators such as Runway ML and Pika Labs among others.

It is now time to evaluate how the new technology will improve how we do business and unlock new heights of creativity and ingenuity. It has been projected that AI technologies are set to increase productivity by more than 50 percent.

For the longest time, Information Technology has been gathering force for its final onslaught on our crumbling institutional bases. We are now faced the inevitability of focusing on a post AI era by re-evaluating the type of knowledge and skills required for the future.

We must start reimagining business processes that will integrate machine intelligence with human intelligence. As AI empowers people to create and innovate at enhanced levels, there will beneed to retrain and retool those disproportionately impacted by the changes.

The promise of AI lies in its potential to empower human creativity, imagination, and innovation. Moving beyond the mundane automation of routine tasks, AI envisages a future where humans remain pivotal, with machines augmenting their abilities.

This paradigm shift envisions a workforce focusing on higher-level tasks such as analysis, decision-making, and innovation. The contours of industries are being reshaped, with small- and medium-sized enterprises leveraging AI to competitively engage in a global marketplace—a parallel to the transformative effect the internet wielded decades earlier.

Technology intertwined with science is unlocking new unfathomable depths of complex life throughout the universe, from microscopic domain of minute organisms to the outer reaches of space and to the inner world of human consciousness. This intricateness of life stretches infinite in multiple directions.

In an era where technological innovation propels society forward with unprecedented velocity, the role of regulation has shifted from being a mere hindrance to a necessity. The discourse surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) has gained momentum, with debates spanning from the governance of social media platforms to the rise of cryptocurrencies.

The complexity of these discussions often obscures a fundamental truth: AI’s potential to be intelligent without being autonomous. While AI systems can adeptly solve problems, they do not autonomously select the problems they address.

Regulators, often characterized by their deliberative pace, are currently grappling with these emerging issues. Swift resolution seems improbable, particularly in an environment marked by multifaceted challenges and an evolving technological landscape.

Enter the Singularity, an epoch where the capabilities of large language models like ChatGPT embody the vast expanse of human knowledge harvested from sources as diverse as Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Quora, and the venerable halls of academia. This digital cornucopia serves as the training ground for these AI behemoths, furnishing them with a mosaic of human expression, from colloquial chats to scholarly treatises.

Yet, amidst the grandeur of this transformation, an undercurrent of caution surfaces. AI’s transformative capabilities extend beyond mechanizing tasks; they encroach upon domains once deemed quintessentially human—creativity, originality, and intuition.

Artistry, an endeavor deeply embedded in human history, faces a profound challenge. The automation of artistic creation, underpinned by AI, evokes both anticipation and trepidation.

AI’s burgeoning presence demands introspection. This incipient phase of AI-generated art may be construed as a crude facsimile, but it harbors the potential to transcend its nascent stage, evolving into a force that reshapes the artistic landscape.

In conclusion, AI permeates decision-making, creativity, and societal paradigms. The current landscape, characterized by regulatory debates and technological fervor, necessitates a delicate balance. The harmony struck between autonomous ingenuity and regulation will chart the course for AI’s impact on humanity – an impact poised to redefine not only industries but also the essence of human expression.  

Writer is the executive producer of concept Vault (, a multi-media production company. Nick is also a financial journalist, caricaturist and audio-visual producer.

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