The case against Art produced by Artificial "Intelligence"

The case against Art produced by Artificial "Intelligence"
Most of my colleagues in the comics industry seem to be united against the A.I. Apps that are appearing with more frequency. That's art generated by "Artificial Intelligence" if you didn't know already. I stand with my colleagues against this loathsome "development".

Recently I've read a few defences of A.I. from people who think it's the same as art created using digital software such as Photoshop or Clip Studio Paint. It is not. 

No one is arguing against digital software. Photoshop, Clip Studio, Illustrator, and suchlike are tools, and require skills to use effectively. Drawing with a stylus on a graphic pad requires the exact same amount of talent as drawing with ink on paper. In both cases, the creativity stems from the artist and their unique skills. "But what about fonts?" someone asked. True, fonts are ready made to use, (and were made by skillful humans) but they still require a sense of page design to use properly, deciding on the right font, placing it where the dialogue will flow best, and suchlike.

Sure, there are letterers using fonts badly; choosing the wrong size, or using the crossbar "I" in the middle of a word and so on, but that's a learning curve and good editors will have a word with them about it. 

Artificial Intelligence "art" is totally different and requires no skill or talent. Those apps work by a person typing in a "prompt", eg: "Rusty robot fighting angry dinosaur in ruined futuristic city" and the app then quickly scours the Internet to steal images in order to mash up a composition based on the prompt. Yes "steal images", because the A.I. apps just take images they find online without permission, notification, or payment to the original artists.

So, no skill required, and unethical to boot. 

Yes, the A.I. apps are fun to play with and no one is saying people shouldn't dabble for their own amusement, but some "AI creators" are regarding it as true art, and themselves as artists, which is ludicrous. What concerns many of us though is that it's inevitable that some publishers will decide to use AI generated images instead of commissioning artists. Now, no one is against progress, and many artists use technology which is fine (I use Photoshop for colouring for example) but as I said, there's a difference between that sort of technology and those lazy copyright-infringing AI apps.

At the moment, AI is still in its infancy but it will develop. I had a dabble myself, just for the purposes of this article. The result was laughable and ugly. I typed in "Snowman offering a plate of mince pies" and this was what the app generated...

A very unappetising dish of turds on a plate. You'll also notice the dodgy rendering of the snowman and a kind of red tie instead of a scarf because Artificial Intelligence doesn't really have the intelligence to know what it's doing properly. And why did the image crop the top of his head off? Some AI attempts I've seen have been even worse, showing people with multiple fingers on their hands, hats growing halfway out of their heads, dogs with distorted faces, buildings with doors in the wrong place, and so on. This snowman image has even dragged in an artists signature, presumably accidentally, from part of an image it nicked. 

At present, it's hard to AI to create sequential comic strips because the image generators produce something different from panel to panel. That hasn't stopped some people trying though, even though the results look nightmarish and nonsensical.

AI "art" is soulless and will be potentially damaging for any art community. I doubt we can halt its "progress" now (although the copyright issue will be used against it) but we can shout out loudly against it!

If you want a piece of art, find a real artist who has the style you want and commission them. Don't let an app be a poor substitute.

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* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here

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