Berlin photographer Boris Eldagsen has rejected recognition from the Sony World Photography Awards, saying artificial intelligence (AI) images and photography should not compete in similar competitions.
In a statement posted on his website, Erdagsen said he applied to the competition “like a cheeky monkey” to find out if such events are ready to handle AI-generated content.
The photographer also called for a debate on the role of AI in photography.
“We in the photography world need an open discussion. A discussion about what we want to consider photography and what not,” Eldagsen wrote.
What does the AI-generated photo show?
Prize organizers announced Eldagsen’s work, titled “Pseudomnesia: The Electrician,” as the winner in its creative category last month.
The sepia-toned image shows two women of different generations, one standing behind the other.
“How many of you knew or suspected it was AI generated? Something about it is wrong, is it?” Eldagsen said.
The artist emphasized that photography should not be confused with AI-generated content. “They are different entities. AI is not photography.”
How did the organizers of the prize react?
In an initial response, the awarding body accused Eldagsen of “deliberate attempts to mislead them”.
“As he has now decided to decline his award, we have suspended our activities with him and, in accordance with his wishes, we have removed him from competition,” the organization said in a statement provided to DW.
“While elements of AI practices are relevant in the artistic contexts of image-making, the awards have always been and will continue to be a platform to champion the excellence and skill of photographers and artists. working in this medium,” the statement added.
They also said they were “looking forward to a deeper discussion” with the artist.
Eldagsen wrote that it was “absurd” to suggest the organizers were ready to strike up a conversation with him.
According to the artist, the jury refused to answer his questions and those of the journalists.
“They had so many options to use this for good. They didn’t use any of them,” Eldagsen said.
Later on Tuesday, the organizers withdrew the accusation of being misled in an edited statement sent to the AFP news agency.
The debate over the image of AI
Recently, AI has been making headlines with its ability to generate various content, ranging from detailed travel itineraries to academic essays and code in various programming languages.
AI-generated images have flooded the internet recently, sparking a conversation around AI and misinformation.
Last month, artificially created images showing the arrest of former US President Donald Trump sparked controversy online.
With new language models like DALL-E 2users can create detailed, realistic images from text input in seconds.
DW wrote a handy checklist on how to spot AI-generated images.
vh/jcg (AFP, dpa)
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