Jack Storokin

An AI created image of a cow made from corn standing in a field. AI photographs like this have been circulating the media recently.

Heading into an artificial world

May 5, 2023

As artificial intelligence continues to expand rapidly and our population is struggling to keep up with it. Both careers and education are going to be deeply effected by these monumental changes. People are vastly unprepared for what AI could do for our world.


Education takes a hit

We are headed into a technological age that the world is vastly unprepared for. Schools especially have faced many challenges already when it comes to combating the fast growing artificial intelligence. 

Students have started to rely on programs such as ChatGPT to construct their essays, answer questions on homework, and replace their critical thinking skills. The use of these programs are difficult for teachers to detect and students that use them often fly under the radar. 

The way that teachers are currently educating their students doesn’t force them to rely on their critical thinking. Assistant Principal Nollie Strohmaier detailed, “We have to think about what we really want the students to learn and understand.”

Educators aren’t prepared to help their students use AI technology in an ethical way; and the consequences of that will ripple. The reliance students have on AI takes away from the learning process; which is going to cause a generation of people that can’t solve problems.  

Photography teacher Rosie day said, “An over reliance on AI and technology in general can diminish students’ opportunities to practice interpersonal skills and collaboration with others.” 

In many jobs collaboration is crucial for the execution of the career; if this is not practiced in schools now students will struggle with it always. Teachers have always taught students to “keep your eyes on your own test,” and “if you’re caught talking you will get a zero.” 

This mentality towards education needs to start shifting with technology or students are going to face drastic consequences later in life. Strohmaier added, “If we think of some of our practices within education they haven’t changed much in the last hundred years – technology has.”

With this new dependence on artificial intelligence students are not prepared for what the jobs the world is going to offer. As service industry jobs are also starting to disappear with AI, getting a good education is becoming increasingly important; but seemingly impossible.

Although, just like anything else, some change can be good. “I believe that AI has the potential to expand access to education for students who are geographically isolated, have disabilities, or face other barriers to learning,” Day commented. “AI can also interpret a student’s strengths and weaknesses and produce personalized content to cater to their needs.”

AI has the potential to make education more accessible to everyone. If educators learned how to responsibly use these programs for teaching it could dramatically improve the learning methods that we have used for decades.

Currently, AI is in the laps of our youth in America who know little to nothing about what it will do for them. In the right hands AI could do some incredible things for the next generation of learners. 

Photography loses credibility

Artificial intelligence has emerged out of nowhere and has become almost suffocating on social media and in the news. AI created images of The Pope turning into a god-zilla-like monster are being thrown around on twitter as well as AI generated images of Cuban refugees (Christopher Brown’s project 90 miles) and people partially made of corn (Jack Sorokins “CornCutore” project) on Instagram. 

As we see more and more examples of artificial intelligence in our day to day lives an enormous amount of questions arise across the board. Some have taken a deep dive into what these advancements will mean for jobs in multiple fields. As for photography, people are questioning how to know and believe what is real and what has been artificially generated. Photographer Christepher Brown and his AI generated project 90 miles have stricken controversy around the media. Many are saying that a touchy subject shouldn’t be portrayed without real human experience. Another photographer with experience creating AI generated images, Jack Sorokin says “They’re not photographs and they’re not documents. They are illustrations and that’s fine, but that distinction is really important.” Photographer and teacher Rosie Day claims “I don’t think people are willing to accept artificially created documentation of a sensitive and traumatic event – It doesn’t represent reality, and I think it lacks empathy, and creates a biased reality as it relates to race and demographics. People are still unwilling to celebrate or even respect ‘photojournalism’ work created in this way.” Human connection is what truly separates AI generation from things that people are creating intimately. 

Sorokin has started an AI generated project of his own, “CornCouture”, which features people, animals, and businesses surrounded and engulfed by corn. He says he wants to “…provoke thought about corn’s omnipresence in modern American life.” The images are very real-looking but it’s obvious that they aren’t real-life (cows don’t really have patches of corn growing on them). AI generation has created an entire new medium that gives people a chance to take a step further into conceptual art (art that is focused on promoting a concept or idea). Sorokin also explained that “From an economic perspective it’s making it much much quicker and easier and less time consuming to make images but from an artistic perspective it’s making photographers-or will make photographers or journalists- question what is the essence of what it is that you’re doing.” Sorokin has a background in both photojournalism and AI image generation and he continues to believe that human connection is what truly separates AI generation from things that people are creating first hand. 

Even though AI has brought unique opportunities, some human connection is seemingly disappearing. For example, stock imagery will ultimately be taken over by AI-image-generation, as well as other jobs like baristas and fast food workers. Wilsonville High School assistant principal Mrs.Strohmaier says “Even small things like some fast food restaurants where you can order on the kiosk, you don’t order from a human anymore and that’s less AI but more technology in general makes you wonder how many jobs technology will replace.” Even though a continuously growing amount of jobs are losing their fight against technology, artificial intelligence cannot replicate a true sense of human kinship. 

Even as we continue to take steps further into a world of AI people are continuing to consider critical thinking and accountability in this advanced world.