As AI art has captured the attention and interest of less wary viewers, opportunistic entrepreneurs have turned their text prompts – which are said to be more impactful than those written by less experienced users – into a product. For just $2 to $5, someone looking for a specific AI-generated image can purchase a prompt that promises to reflect whatever they’ve conjured up in their imagination, without the need to restart it.
AI-generated art certainly has its moment. DALL-E 2, a free AI algorithm that produces impressive (though sometimes unsettling) images based on user text prompting, became so popular this summer that it made meme history. Additionally, last week, an AI-generated “painting” caused controversy by winning the Colorado State Fair digital art competition, despite the fact that all other entries were made by humans. It most likely made AI art more appealing. With the right text prompts, anyone can be considered an “artist”, with no real artistic skill required.
There are already entire online platforms dedicated to these prompts. Adi Robertson of The Verge recently interviewed Justin Reckling on his experience creating prompts for PromptBase, an AI prompt marketplace. Reckling mentioned that there are styling keywords, such as “long shot”, “hyper-detailed”, or “cinematic lighting”, which can be added to prompts to add depth to AI-generated artwork. . Some systems, like Midjourney, allow for more personalized prompts where certain keywords may be weighted more than others. Others, like DALL-E 2, work with simpler prompts.
The prompts available on PromptBase generate a range of images, from monkey avatars (an obvious nod to Bored Ape NFTs) and 3D wallpapers to food clipart and renderings of futuristic buildings. Reckling’s most popular prompts are those that generate 3D “block buildings” and product photos of t-shirts, onto which shirt designers can add their own images. For someone not in the know, the results of these prompts are put together so well that they could easily be attributed to a human artist, not an AI algorithm, which some consider a source of concern.
As we touched on in our story about the art contest challenge, the rise of AI-generated art (and its commercialization) has some artists worried that their work may eventually lose relevance. I can’t really blame them. As a writer, I can’t help but worry that there will one day be a market for prompts that power writing AIs like Jasper and HyperWrite, which claim to generate entire paragraphs of plain text in a few seconds. (There may already be one, but if so, I choose to live in ignorant bliss.) Some even worry that these artistic AI algorithms are guilty of plagiarism, since their results are based on existing works that have been painstakingly created by humans. But now it’s too late: AI-generated art has made its way into the mainstream, and it makes sense that a variety of ways to profit from this new commodity would follow.