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Photographer Rejects Award For AI-Generated Image

Boris Eldagsen and the AI-generated image. Credit Boris Eldagsen Instagram account.

An AI generated image titled "Pseudomnesia: The Electrician," by Berlin-based photographer, Boris Eldagsen took first place in the creative category at the Sony World Photography Awards last week, April 14th, 2023. 

However, the photographer rejected the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards honor, stating that artificial intelligence (AI) visuals and photography should not compete in similar events.

Eldagsen clarified that his intention in using the image was to put the competition to the test and to spark conversation about the future of photography.

In the image, two ladies from different eras are depicted in the unsettling black-and-white image, with the older woman appearing to hold the younger one from behind.

Berlin-based Boris Eldagsen won the creative open category at this year's 2023 Sony World Photography Award with his entry "Pseudomnesia: The Electrician."

Erdagsen stated on his website that he applied to the competition "as a cheeky monkey" to see if such events are equipped to handle AI-generated content.

The photographer also advocated for a discussion about the role of AI in photography.

We, the photo world, need an open discussion. A discussion about what we want to consider photography and what not" Eldagsen wrote.

It is worth noting that the artist had previously submitted pictures to the Sony World Photography Awards but had yet to be able to win.

What response did the award's organizers give?

The awarding committee accused Eldagsen of "deliberate attempts at misleading" them in their original response.

According to a statement the organization gave to DW, "As he has now decided to decline his award we have suspended our activities with him and in keeping with his wishes have removed him from the competition."

"While elements of AI practices are relevant in artistic contexts of image-making, the Awards always have been and will continue to be a platform for championing the excellence and skill of photographers and artists working in the medium," the statement continued.

Additionally, they stated that they were "looking forward to engaging in a more in-depth discussion" with the artist. 

Eldagsen claimed that it was "nonsense" to imply that the event's organizers would be open to speaking with him. The artist claims that the awarding organization declined to respond to inquiries from him and journalists.

"They had a ton of ways to put this to good use. None of them were used,” according to Eldagsen.

In an altered statement submitted to the news agency AFP later on Tuesday, the organizers deleted the claim that they were deceived.

The debate over AI images

Recently, AI has gained attention for its capacity to produce a variety of material, including intricate vacation itineraries, academic writings, and code in several programming languages.

Recent internet oversaturation with AI-generated graphics has raised questions about AI and misinformation. The online debate was sparked last month by photoshopped images purporting to show the arrest of former US President Donald Trump.

Users can quickly produce detailed, realistic pictures from text input using new language models like DALL-E 2. 

Now it helps to check or have a helpful checklist on how to recognize AI-generated photographs, academic writings, etc. This would help eliminate the confusion in the art world so no one wonders if art done is by AI or humans. Artificial intelligence season is upon us and it is here to stay. We either embrace it as creatives or be weary of it when we cannot recognize the difference between AI art and human art.



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