The shock at AI’s invasion of human creativity bypasses age old concerns about what it means to be human, and why we create
just to learn my dreams aren't rare
Fiction has provided many troublesome visions of AI’s takeover of the human world. Alex Garland’s Ex Machina is a great inversion of Dr Frankenstein‘s fears of artificial monsters running amock.
Fashion itself is (in many ways) an artificial beast too – the industry’s aesthetic evolution is increasingly a hybrid collation of concepts; sometimes removed (especially at the luxury end) from practical concerns. Indeed, fashion runs on a ‘post trend’ overload of ideas, curated at the top by priveleged directors and influencers far removed from the world that most customers (and aspiring customers) inhabit.
While conservationists and social activists seek to reign in some of fashion perverse idealism, the now lighting-quick emergence of technology (see manufacturing, transportation, customer service, profit optimization, advertising and marketing, imaging and editing, communication and consumption) has further severed our link with the linear and visceral realities. The next step is simply to let the machine-ideals take over.
For in this digital future of fashion, The imagination is unbounded, And the dream of the perfect garment, Is only a keystroke away, astounded
John Naughton‘s article in The Guardian is somewhat mocking of humans’ tendencies to ‘anthropoligize’ AI by comparing its capabilities with our own experiences. He argues that the main threat is not with the machines themselves, but in the power weilded by cloud operating companies.
Others have welcomed the incursion of AI – powerful tools like Chat GPT and Dall-E (that created all of the images in this article) can be used by creatives to streamline and ideate to stunning effect.The creative efforts of a human artist have always existed in (and commented on) the statis between the real and the artificial, the meaningful and mundane.
Tragedy + Opportunity
In fashion we find a similar cojoining of the two worlds. Humans try to be more than they are by embracing artifice, costume. Clothes somewhat redundant until they’re worn by a human.
Seen philosophically, the tragedy of both robotic and human conditions is that AI can achieve perfection in so many superficial areas, but doesn’t have a soul. Humans are unique but tragically flawed. Our attempts to beat AI will eventually flounder, but therein lies the beauty.