Questioning Midjourney’s motives in aesthetics research for beauty’s benefit. #AestheticsBenefit

Beauty for Whose Benefit? Questioning Midjourney’s Motives in Aesthetics Research | by Dr HaNa | Jun, 2024

The article discusses a survey by Midjourney titled “Demographics and Aesthetics” that claims to explore the relationship between aesthetic preferences and demographics. However, the survey questions focus more on collecting user data rather than understanding beauty. None of the questions inquire about users’ aesthetic tastes, visual styles, art movements, or cultural aesthetics that appeal to them. While demographic context has value, aesthetics are subjective and complex, making it essential to ask about aesthetic preferences to explore them scientifically.

The author tested Midjourney’s concept of beauty by prompting it to generate “beautiful scholars,” resulting in images of young, white women conforming to conventional Western beauty standards. This biased representation reveals Midjourney’s limited understanding of aesthetics along lines of gender, age, and ethnicity, reflecting societal beauty prejudices rather than diversity. The article concludes that an AI claiming to study human aesthetics cannot comprehensively explore beauty with implicit limitations encoded in its system.

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