Artists Express Ethical Concerns Over AI Art Boom

AI Art has been a hot topic in recent weeks, with many artists cautioning of the ethical implications of using the technology.

As a refresher, recent weeks might have brought you photos of supposedly AI generated art- prompts fed to a machine learning algorithm that then generates sample composites based on a database of images.

In layman terms, you tell the robot what prompt you want, and then it spits out what it thinks you want- there’d even been accounts that simply post the best samples of these prompts and their results, which usually involve a style prompt ( “X in the style of Rembrandt”, etc).

As the technology has gotten more sophisticated, its run into a huge problem – some databases are sophisticated enough to basically make forgeries of living artists work.

It even gets worse in regards to ownership- just like how your Naruto AMV can be taken down for using parts of an anime you don’t own and parts of a song you equally don’t own, the very nature of the technology- trained by consuming other artists’ work is a walking pile of copyright infringement.

RJ Palmer, an industry concept artist and probably best known for his Pokemon art, highlighted one service in particular and its anti-artist practices.

Many other artists have also taken to Twitter, displeased with the fact that capitalism has found yet another output-based set of goals to impose on them.

“What I hate about AI Art is not that I fear for my job or that I’m afraid of change. I hate that it is theft taken to the extreme. Using other people’s years of work to feed it into an algorithm so you can generate something similar in a few seconds is just so morally foul”, writes another artist, Vertigo.

Artists also see AI Art as an extension of an already-ongoing issue with reposting – people are happy to repost content online without crediting the source, in an almost depersonalizing effect.

“We already have a problem with being viewed as ownerless content”, writes Senior Designer Shivana. “That’s where online nature theft and reposting comes from. Those were the canaries in the mine, and frankly AI nature generators are just bigger canaries to me”.

Considering how NFTs pushed for art as just mass-produced content to be minted, it’s definitely a step in an alarming direction when it comes to protecting artists as creative laborers, rather than just content farms.

Some have even turned to Disney, the most present force in copyright protection in hopes to curb the fad:

Meanwhile, at least one animator is reminding the internet of when animation was almost scabbed out in favor of faster production:

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