I personally find AI art concerning. It was cute at first with the “nuns skateboarding” prompts but now that it can replicate real people’s art styles, I believe some type of law has to be passed that makes it illegal to artificially recreate someone’s art style without their consent. Artists work for years to develop their skills and specific art styles. Creating a unique, recognizable style is difficult and one of an artists’ greatest achievements. The beauty of the human mind is that we create things other organisms aren’t capable of. We do art not for its inherent usefulness, but because we can.
What “art” is has always been a topic of debate but a big guideline is that it was created with a purpose in mind. The fact there was a person who made it or deemed it art gives it intrinsic meaning.
However, the issue with AI art is that when you plug-in a prompt, the computer does not take into account “meaning”. It just does math and recreates something in the image of someone else’s art. The only symbolism it has is what humans decide it does, instead of what a human creator might’ve intended.
I think art and artists will become devalued if it becomes commonplace to just *insert* a prompt and come out with high-quality results in a matter of seconds. An AI won’t get tired. It won’t ask for more money, or better working conditions, and it won’t unionize. All it needs is something to learn from, and it has millions of sources to work with.
Artists have enough of a hard time making money as is without computers learning the one thing only humans can do: making art.
At this point in time, I think artists need to make a clear statement about legal use of their style. You couldn’t copyright a “style” before (and if someone copied it, it’d still be under fair use as parody). However, I think we’re at a turning point where artists should begin drawing lines. Their work needs to be protected. AI art might be fun now, but it’s a mistake to think it won’t bleed into other sectors of the art community and industry.
For example, there are apparently AIs roaming certain writing websites and learning from samples of peoples’ work. Work, that just like digital and traditional art, took hours. I don’t think it’s an illogical assumption to believe AI could start learning how to design things like websites, VFX, architectural outlays, furniture, among other things.
Not to seem like the village crazy woman, but I do sincerely believe that if we don’t start putting restrictions on what AI can/should do, industry and independent creatives will suffer on a massive scale.
There’s really nothing stopping large companies from creating their own AIs and producing content that’s safe from legal action. Imagine Disney creating their own AI and paying out a few select artists substantial amounts of money to lay claim to their art style for the AI to learn from. Where does that leave everyone else who don’t have companies reaching out to them to borrow (read: own) their work and style? Instead of commissioning artists to create something they want to exist, one can simply say “draw (this character) in (this artist)’s style” and get the same results for free.
Additionally, it’ll discourage many young artists from learning the craft. They could think their hours of effort and work are nothing because an AI could easily produce the same content. Why create their own character design when they could generate ideas from an AI who’d it for them? Why learn the elements and principles of art and design when the AI has it handled?
And unfortunately, unlike NFTs, AI art does not exactly have a good reason not to exist. People have been against NFTs since the beginning due to their negative environmental impact and general lack of usefulness. However, artificially-created art is both useful and doesn’t hurt anything but an artist’s bottom line. There are people like myself who are against it, but there are also people who see it as a mere tool we should readily take advantage of. It’s a contentious, gray area and that’s what makes it complicated.
AI art and its sudden and swift foray into the art industry should be a concern for creatives everywhere. Furthermore, artists need to start becoming proactive in protecting their work and drawing strict legal boundaries. It might be painful for those who have benefited from lax artist copyright laws, but it’s action necessary in order to preserve what artists have worked so hard for.
2 thoughts on “Artists Need To Take A Stand Against AI Art”
I agree with everything in your article. Art is my calling, and I have no problem using traditional or digital tools. However, I played around with the AI generators and it didn’t take me long to realize how profoundly troubling it is to the pursuit of art, to having a career in the arts, and how irresponsible it is.
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You are completely correct. The thought something as human as art can now be “generated” is very scary for people who have built or are looking to build careers in the art industry. I’ve seen this go around quite a bit, but we humans really don’t stop to think if we *should* do something rather than whether we *can* do it.
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