The influence of AI-powered virtual reality art and entertainment experiences is burgeoning– it has certainly left no stone unturned. Thus, we are often coerced to ask, ‘Is the presence of AI good?’ Now while its presence is certainly a matter of debate, let us not merely focus on that.
We’re here to talk about how AI has impacted the Art and Entertainment industries. Be it the Van Gogh Museum, virtual reality games, or even the use of CGI in movies like Avatar: The Way of the Water– AI is certainly everywhere.
But, how do the consumers respond to its presence? Do we, as consumers, decide whether it’s good or bad for us? If the presence of AI in every field either intrigues or scares you, then this would be a good read for you!
1. AI-powered Virtual Reality Art and Entertainment Experiences: Good or Bad?
1.1. AI-powered Art as a Virtual Reality
In all fairness, art itself is a virtual reality. Is it not? When you visit a museum, do you not tend to get lost in the story that’s been painted? When reading a book, you do shed tears at the death of your favorite character. And you certainly listen to a song on a loop for days once you start resonating with it!
Art aims to transport us to another world entirely. And while some people might argue that art takes us away from reality, this is certainly not true. It is by taking us to a figurative world itself that art holds up a mirror to portray reality. Aristotle, in his ‘Poetics,’ stated that art imitates life.
However, does AI come under the category of art? AI is a product of science and technology. However, art and innovation have always gone hand-in-hand since time immemorial. In the very sphere of filmmaking itself, art has joined hands with innovation and technology.
One great example is the movie, “Mughal-e-Azam” by K Asif. The song, “Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya” required shooting in a ‘sheesh mahal’ or a palace of mirrors. However, this became a tiresome task for RD Mathur as the glare from the mirrors kept coming in the way.
As a result, he had to go abroad and learn the technique of lightly coating the mirrors with wax to ward off the glare. However, since this light coat of wax only resulted in making the mirrors dull, he eventually went with another technique.
1.2. AI-powered Virtual Reality Art: Does Art Exist in Isolation?
The point is, art has never existed in isolation; innovation has always followed suit! And what is innovation if not a part of science and technology? However, over time, the role of innovation in art has burgeoned. Earlier, innovation required learning a technique for months. Now, it has come down to the presence and usage of Artificial Intelligence in every field.
For instance, there is a surge in the use of AI in museums nowadays. The Van Gogh Museum in Delhi and Mumbai are certainly a case in point. These museums insist on making the works of Van Gogh come alive. But, weren’t his paintings always alive? Art or paintings, for that matter, do not come alive by being projected onto bigger screens.
Van Gogh’s Starry Night was alive before, no doubt, but you cannot ignore the fact that AI has helped in making it more innovative. For instance, one artist created a video showing the same painting but in motion.
The beautiful and vibrant strokes of the paintings were given life! If Starry Night was a beautiful painting before, such innovations make sure the audience gets a more beautiful experience! In a way, AI gives a fillip to the imagination.
1.3. The Amalgamation of Art and AI-powered Virtual Reality: Good or Bad?
To strictly claim that AI should not be used in art is to limit the potential of art itself. The meaning of art certainly varies from person to person. If the use of Artificial Intelligence nudges people to revel in the beauty of art and appreciate it, then who is to say that the presence of AI in art is not good?
Consider how people have gone from reading books to listening to audiobooks. As a result, both reading and listening constitute one aim: to gain knowledge.
However, you should not ignore that every coin has two sides. Al has, no doubt, made things easier, but can you turn your back on the fact that excess of anything is harmful?
Jean Baudrillard, a Poststructuralist scholar, coined the term ‘hyper-real,’ wherein, he says that consumers or audience gets confused as to where the distinction between reality and illusion is situated.
As an example, he takes the very concept of Disney World. In reality, all the characters of Disney have been created through imagination which highlights the fact that they are not real. However, Disney World takes these hypothetical characters and tries to make them seem real. As a result, the very distinction between imagination and reality is being wiped away.
1.4. AI-powered Virtual Reality Art: A Caution
Immersing yourself in art is certainly good, however, you need to paddle in known waters only. Once you start going towards the deep end, you lose your conception of reality or reality itself. Simply viewing a Van Gogh painting or going to the museum to get an entirely different experience depends on the consumers.
You should certainly be appreciative and grateful for the presence of AI in art that helps you better understand an artwork. However, you should also know when to stop consuming such AI-powered virtual art. Thus, when dealing with AI and art or creativity, the most important aspect is finding the right balance.
2. AI-powered Virtual Reality Art and Entertainment Experiences: Consumer Experience
As mentioned earlier, Artificial Intelligence seems to be making its mark in every field. The entertainment industry has not been unfamiliar with its presence either. Creating videos or the art of filmmaking usually requires hours of dedicated work. But now, everything is just a few clicks away from being created. In the film industry, Avatar (2009) made a deep impact with its use of incredible Computer-generated Imagery (CGI).
2.1. Avatar: An AI-powered Virtual Reality Entertainment Experience
More recently, Avatar: The Way of the Water caused a sensation before its release. And while most of you will agree that the work of CGI and AI was brilliant, some found the story and the plot to be baffling.
The Forbes writer, Erik Kain, terms it a ‘major disappointment.’ To him, it is an unnecessarily long movie that has the same theme as the last one. Like the last one, the sequel highlighted how humans and their violent weapons are a great threat.
In simple terms, with the advent of AI, movie directors are simply more focused on CGI. A good script is nowhere in sight.
In more recent news, many Hollywood actors have been protesting against the upper hand of AI in the industry that sidelines scriptwriters altogether. They argue that most directors do not pay heed to the scriptwriters and sometimes even the actors.
2.2. A Warning Against AI-powered Virtual Art and Entertainment Experiences
In his recent movie, Oppenheimer, Nolan claimed that he created the movie as a warning about the current danger of AI. In a way, Nolan warns you not to ignore the ill effects of AI, the same way that the US turned its back on the aftermath of nuclear weapons.
Nevertheless, the cast of the movie showcased an unfailing unity. They left the London premiere of the movie and joined Hollywood’s protest against AI.
3. Creativity: AI-powered Virtual Reality Art and Entertainment Experiences
What this protest leads up to is a question that we cannot answer. However, if the filmmaking industry highlights the use of AI more than a closely-knit plot, then the influence of art is waning. Creativity and innovation should blend to form an incredible piece of art. But if a filmmaker leans heavily on the latter, this leaves less space for creativity.
While it is clear what the issue is, a vital aspect of it remains– the audience as consumers. If the target audience fails to look for creativity in the entertainment sphere and simply fix their gaze on CGI and AI, then these are dark times, indeed.
That being said, you cannot ignore the fact that AI seems to make things run more smoothly for us. A task that takes humans several hours to complete can now be completed with a simple snap of the fingers.
3.1. AI-powered Virtual Reality Art and Entertainment: An End to Creativity?
But a vital question needs to be asked here: Does the rise of AI come at the stake of creativity? More importantly, putting creativity at stake while nudging AI defeats the purpose of art itself. Art is all about creativity.
Understanding this with examples is perhaps the best option. While there was theatre earlier, it eventually gave way to films and filmmaking. Now, the director not only had to worry about the unity of time, place, and action but also learned how to use the camera to its best potential.
3.2. Filmmaking: Art Thrives Despite AI and Virtual Reality Experiences
For instance, close-up shots are used to portray the emotions of a character. Whereas, extreme wide shots or crane shots are used to evince the grandeur of a place. Nevertheless, the birth of the art of filmmaking in the entertainment industry does not indicate that theatre, or photography, has come to an end!
Just because an art form becomes prey to Artificial Intelligence, it does not mean that it has met a brutal end. Paintings paved the way for photography and 3D art, yet you can easily notice the art of painting going on in full swing!
3.3. Music: AI-powered Virtual Reality Art and Entertainment Experiences
If you look at music trends in the entertainment sphere, you will realize that a form always survives. Classical music gave way to Pop, and Pop music gave way to Rap. Does this mean that Classical music has come to an end? No, there are many avid listeners and consumers of Classical music even today!
In other words, art and art forms, even after encountering a new form, find ways to survive and thrive.
3.4. Paintings: AI and Virtual Reality Combine with Art
Sometimes, the old art forms take inspiration from the nascent ones and create a hybrid. 3D painting is one art form that takes both the old and the new art forms. And something spectacular is created after being blended!
3.5. VR Games: A Product of AI-generated Virtual Reality Art
Since we’re talking about the entertainment industry, it is also imperative to throw light on Virtual Reality games. With the advent of computers and mobile phones, indoor games like chess or ludo paved the path for games on screens.
Eventually, this gave rise to Virtual Reality games, wherein the players are not simply required to play a game while being in reality but are forced to engage all their senses to enter into a virtual world.
3.6. Ill Effects of AI-powered Virtual Reality Art and Entertainment Experiences
The class 10th NCERT English textbook contains a story on virtual reality and virtual reality games. “Virtually True” by Patrick Stewart explores the aftermath of Virtual Reality games and how such games not only compel the players to discard their reality but to accept the virtual reality of the game.
As a result, the players are transported to a hypothetical world of their favourite games, forgetting for a while that in reality, they are simply playing a game. VR games aim to remove the screen or the very distinction that separates reality from illusions.
This is not to say that AI should not be given any space but it should certainly not be given the power to overtake art and creativity. The aim of AI, as a product of science and technology, should be to make tasks easier and not to make jobs disappear.
4. AI-powered Virtual Reality: The Best Use
Science and Technology should be used for the improvement of society and to eradicate menial jobs that are quite fatal. For instance, manual scavenging, despite its ban in the year 2013, persists due to the established structure of caste hierarchy.
Despite possessing machines that can do such tasks easily, the Dalits are coerced to engage in such tasks. This is where Science and Technology should step up. Don’t you think so?
5. Final Words
Thus, the final take here is that while being immersed in AI-powered Virtual Reality Art and Entertainment experiences is incredible for consumers, it is also highly dangerous. The very basis of art is creativity and its purpose is to showcase that creativity; however, if AI aims to threaten this creative aspect of art, then it is more of a bane than a boon.