Art created by artificial intelligence is all the rage at the moment. But what many people do not consider when they apply an AI art filter or submit a prompt to an AI art engine like Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, DALL-E2, and others is how the program is learning and where it is learning from.
I posted about AI created portraits, cars, and cats in a previous post from a few years ago. The question I asked back then about artificial intelligence replacing photographers has become even more relevant today.
This is a topic of conversation I will be going into deeper on an upcoming episode of the Nerdy Photographer Podcast, but I feel like there is no time to waste in discussing the ethical questions and repercussions of AI created art.
How does artificial intelligence learn to create art? Well, developers provide the program with a “data set”. And while many people worry that using an AI art app will give the developers permission to use their face as part of the data – which is a valid concern – there are other, murkier, ethics issues at play.
In fact, there’s currently a lawsuit against Stable Diffusion regarding where they get their data from. The lawsuit alleges the program learned from websites such a Deviant Art, learning to recreate the work of other artists without their consent and, in turn, profiting off their program’s ability to recreate their work.
Further allegations include developers sending hundreds of thousands of queries in a short amount of time following the death of a popular artist in an attempt to fine tune the AI’s ability to create work in the style of that artist.
While there are definitely many artists out there using this tool to create new and inventive works, the broader issue is that AI art requires little or no discipline to use. Sure, you can further refine your work but the majority of people using these applications are not artists. But using AI makes them feel like they are artists and that they ‘created’ something when, in actuality, the program ‘created’ the piece by copying the work of someone else.
The whole reminds me of the famous quote from Jurassic Park
I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here: it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could…Ian Malcom, Jurassic Park
Have questions about AI Art?
Do you use these programs? How do you feel about people using the works created with artificial intelligence commercially? Should companies be clearer about where they get the data for their AI?
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