Since our entry into the XNUMXst century, we have followed the rapid pace of technology that dominates our daily lives. Between those who only see negative points and others who applaud it effusively, there is an ocean to be discussed. It is a fact that images, in all their amplitude, have become the most efficient language. Enter the scene now, as protagonist the AI ​​(Artificial Intelligence), so seen in movies, cartoons and fiction literature. Today it comes true.

Image production processes that until now were time consuming become immediate processes.

In the last week, an image went viral on the Internet: that of the German photographer Boris Eldagsen, who, upon winning the Sony World Photography award, refused the honor stating that that image had been produced by AI and that – therefore – for him it was not photography. He also created controversy by stating that he purposely sent the image to the contest to “test” the judges: “I competed to provoke, to know if the competitions are ready for the arrival of AI. They are not,” he stated.

There is still a lot of water to roll. But it was just this stir to appear for the networks to be invaded by opinions and certainties in relation to technology. Apocalyptic and Integrated – paraphrasing the well-known book by Umberto Eco, have spent words to discuss the effects of AI in our lives. By the way, in the aforementioned book, published in the 1960s, the Italian semiotician invited us to think about the effects of technology on the so-called – and already outdated – culture of the masses. Cinema, literature and even cartoons in the XNUMXth century already announced the life and influence of this computational system that tries to imitate the power of human learning and even decision-making. So far, nothing new!

Images, as they are the language of contemporary efficiency, become the focus of these discussions. We've already seen Trump running through the streets pursued by the police, Pope Francis looking stylish in a winter coat and even the artist Jyo John Mulloor, who, in an amusing way, created selfies invented and “performed” by historical people.

These debates, necessary and precious, take us back in time. When the photograph was announced in 1839, a painter, Paul Delaroche, according to legend, went out shouting: "From today painting is dead". History has shown that this was not the case. The same debates were raised when digital photography came along. Many photographers declared themselves absolutely against it, announcing that they would never leave analogue. Once again, time has shown otherwise.

The issue to be considered is that when photography emerged, as the language of modernity, it was seen and perceived as a machine for creating certainties. And this belief continued for a long time. Photography as proof, as a mirror of the real, as a window to the world and not as a result of the individual's creative thinking.

This is how AI is presenting itself when we talk about photography, as a system capable of creating images without human interference. Argentine neuroscientist Facundo Manes recalls, however, that AI “is not capable of creating, it does not have empathy, creativity or emotions”. At least for now, it only reproduces what it was programmed for.

In 2017, the Catalan researcher Joan Fontcuberta, in his book The Fury of Images (still untranslated into Portuguese), stated: “The images have changed. They no longer function as we used to and they penetrate all social and private domains as never before in history”. That is, they continue to impact our daily lives, but they have become many, traces of presence, difficult to apprehend.

In this moment of astonishment with the new possibilities and with the shattering of our certainties, perhaps the most important thing is to rethink the role of the image within a socio-historical context. How it impacts our lives both from an ethical and aesthetic point of view. We reflect through images, we act through images, they help us to think. If at the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s, philosophers took the picture of its applicability to insert it in the area of ​​culture, now we must perceive it in a more forceful way as a communicational phenomenon.

Before sympathetically embracing AI or fearfully refuting it, we may need to invest in visual education. It is increasingly necessary to learn to decode images, interpret their symbolism. The most urgent thing now is to appropriate the meaning of the production of an image. Leaving imagery alienation to understand that, as a language, it needs to be studied and understood.

After all, with this ocean of images produced daily, to paraphrase Fontcuberta, we live in the era of Homo Photographicus.

 

1 comment

Leave a comment

Please write a comment
Please write your name