This year, the Colorado State Fair’s art competition gave out a prize to a controversial entry: the image above, made with an artificial intelligence (A.I.) program. Jason Allen, of Pueblo West, Colorado, created the image, “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” (“Space Opera Theater” in French), using Midjourney, an A.I. program that turns text into hyperrealistic graphics. He took home the blue ribbon in the contest for emerging digital artists—making it one of the first A.I.-generated pieces to win such a prize and setting off a fierce backlash from artists who accused him of, essentially, cheating. A.I.-generated art has been around for years, but tools released this year have made it possible for amateurs to create complex works simply by typing a few words into a text box. These apps have made many human artists nervous about their futures, but Allen argues their anger should be directed not at individuals who use A.I. to make art but at companies that choose to replace human artists with A.I. tools. “It shouldn’t be an indictment of the technology itself,” he says. “The ethics isn’t in the technology. It’s in the people.”