In the past year, AI seems to have become the villain of the art world. Artists are in an uproar about the usage of AI Generators that create art, write poems, and write stories. Much of the noise is about the unregulated training of the AI that used copyrighted images to train their generators. The artists of those images were never contacted, never asked for permission to use the images, nor given the choice to opt out of having their images used.
These are all valid concerns. And they definitely need to be addressed by the organizations that are training the AI. But I do think that it should be pointed out that long before AI, artists’ works were often emulated or copied by other artists without the original artist’s permission.
Unfortunately, this behavior is nothing new. I think we can also all agree that putting our artwork up on the internet is inherently risky. If we choose to make our artwork available on the internet sooner or later it is bound to be stolen in some form or another. I can name several of my artist friends who have found their artwork for sale on sites under another artist’s name. Or their art has been stolen and then sold as a NFT (non-fungible token).
Here is the bottom line, AI is here to stay. Science Fiction books have been telling us for decades about AI. The benefits and pitfalls. The great news is the each of us has the choice on whether we want to use it or not. If you don’t want to use then don’t. If you do want to use it then do. But with that said, I really hope that we as artists can support each other’s choice without judgment. Each artist needs to choose what their heart and mind are telling them to choose.
My choice is to use AI as a tool that will be integrated into my creative workflow for some of my artwork (through my entire website) and for some of my writing only in this section of my website. I will not use AI for all of my artwork or all of my writing. I will also be open in letting people know when I have chosen to use AI elements in my creative workflow. I will only be using AI elements or as a background (like stock images are used).
My hope is that the powers that be who are training the AI generators will start regulating the images and writings that they use to train AI. I look forward to a future where artists/writers are asked permission to use their artwork/writings or that they are given the option to opt out. I respect the direction that Adobe has chosen to go in only training their AI on images that are public domain and ones that are in their current Adobe Stock library. They also seem to be moving towards compensating their artists when a image of their is used for training.
Until our ones and zeroes shall meet again