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He Used AI to Win a Fine-Arts Competition. Was It Cheating?

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Jason Allen's AI-generated art won first place in the Colorado State Fair arts competition.

Credit: Jason Allen

When Jason Allen submitted his "Théâtre D'opéra Spatial" into the Colorado State Fair's fine arts competition last week, the sumptuous print was an immediate hit, beating 20 other artists in the "digitally manipulated photography" category to win the first-place blue ribbon and a $300 prize.

What Allen had only hinted at, however, was that the artwork had been created in large part by an artificial-intelligence tool, Midjourney, that can generate realistic images at a user's command. The portrait of three figures, dressed in flowing robes, staring out to a bright beyond, was so finely detailed the judges couldn't tell.

Allen's piece offers a clear example of how rapidly AI-generated art has advanced. Trained on billions of internet images, the systems have decisively pushed the boundaries of what computers can create.

From The New York Times
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