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Part scary, part exciting: How artists are using AI in their work

The art world — like many industries — is grappling with how best to use artificial intelligence, especially in its latest form, generative AI.

Image generators like Midjourney and OpenAI's DALL-E 3 can produce pictures from written prompts, and such technology has been used to create a magazine cover, win an art prize and dress the Pope in a white puffer jacket.

Some artists CNBC spoke to described the technology's potential as being scary or a threat, or expressed concerns about copyright. But they also said they were excited about what generative AI might bring.

Installation artist Rubem Robierb was "shocked" when he first saw what generative AI could do, he told CNBC by phone. "In its infancy, [generative] AI can create more images in a second [than] the human brain can even process. This is not necessarily a good thing, but we are all here forced into the experiment," he said in a follow-up email.

Robierb specializes in sculpture, and a piece named "Dandara" was displayed in New York City, in memory of Dandara dos Santos, a transgender woman who was killed in Fortaleza, Brazil, while he also made "Dream Machine," a large pair of butterfly wings commissioned by Celebrity Cruises for Edge, its billion-dollar cruise ship.

The artist, who is based between New York and Miami, said he's yet to use AI in his work. But he described doing so as "not a matter of choice," and added that he is considering how and when to use it.

"We can also see it as a threat to creativity. As it exists right now, [generative] AI sources from known images, known artwork, and known artists to complete a task. Legal boundaries must be created in order to protect intellectual property," Robierb said.

In Europe, the European Commission's AI Act aims to