The alleged threat of robots taking away human jobs is a topic that has been covered many, many times, by countless PR people, media outlets and academics. Nobody is safe from being replaced, according to the critics of artificial intelligence (AI) that are concerned it will lead to job losses. But what about artists? Surely, the creative genius of the next Banksy, Dali or Hockney must be safe?

Not anymore, apparently. An algorithm, dubbed PaintBot, that learns to mimic the unique styles and brushstrokes of any artist, has now been developed. To make matters worse, it takes only 6 hours for it to learn the artist’s style and five minutes to create a piece of artwork. And that’s just the start – eventually the AI will exceed the capability of a human.

Time will tell if AI is accepted as an artist. We’ll likely see initial, first-to-market artwork created by AI selling at a high price, but then plateau when the marketplace becomes saturated. I suspect we’ll also see certain forward-thinking artists embrace PaintBot technology, fusing their own style with AI to create something never seen before.

Whether you’re excited by AI or fear it, its impact on the artworld will be fascinating to observe. Frankly, that’ll be the case for every sector.

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