Thursday, July 28, 2022

Artist Weights In

Fredrik, of course, who was the artist for both Gridiron Solitaire and The Man You Trust. I'm not putting it in italics for readability, but everything below this paragraph is Fredrik.

AI generated artwork is an amazing tool that we will see used a lot more in the future. Let's look at the good things first.

Having the ability to generate concepts and visual ideas with just some keywords will make iteration and idea generation incredibly fast. I think every concept artist in the world will bring this tool into their toolbelt and start using the AI generated images as a starting ground/ideation quickly. Instead of spending an hour producing one or two images, I can spend an hour generating hundreds. They might not be perfect, but taking those seeds and iterating on them by hand is something we will see develop quickly in any industry that doesn't require perfection, such as architecture drawings, illustrations for medical textbooks, etc. 

I also really like that it allows non-artists to explore ideas that they have but may not have the skills to develop. AI generated tools will allow them to manifest these ideas, which might even push them to pick up a pencil or paintbrush to learn how to create art. That's very cool.

Those are the two main positives about AI generated art. 

The biggest con I see is that someone has to feed these machines. It's not like the AI actually creates these works. It has devoured the art world and is spitting back photobashed (think of photobashing as copying sections from many many art works and pasting them into a document to create something new) facsimiles of what the prompts is asking it to. But what about the artists who fed the machine in the first place? Are the works of Gieger or Beksinski just more food for the machine to regurgitate back to us? That's the moral question of AI generated art. Is the work generated by AI art? If we didn't feed it art, it would just spit back a blank page to the viewer. I fear there's a danger with AI generated art that hundreds of years of work by masters of their craft become devalued and just more fodder for the AI bots to spit back at us. 

Then there's the monetary question. I doubt that the creators of these AI bots asked permission from all these creators to use their art to create the AI generated works. Were the artists paid for their work? Should they get paid? I mean, photobashing has been around for ages and ages and the artists who helped create the backgrounds of greenscreen movies don't get acknowledged or paid. Should they with these AI generated works? And if you create an artwork using AI, do you own that piece of art? Can you sell it as your own art? There's a lot of murky legal waters that I have no answers for. 

Last thoughts. I don't think AI generated art is in any danger of replacing artists anytime soon. It's a tool that artists will use to work faster. What I do worry about is the devaluation of art and that the creators of the bots have shown little to no regard for artists whose work they have used.

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