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A.I. Generated Images Are Wack.

(Originally posted on Instagram on December 15, 2022, since edited, expanded, and uncensored.)

A.I. "ART" IS being touted as a huge technological leap forward. It seems like a bit of harmless fun and does have its uses.

I wouldn't use any in an artwork (probably 🤥). But it would be helpful for brainstorming things such as composition and colours in pre-production, saving a lot of time and effort. Along with other useful applications beyond art.

I would have much preferred it, though, if the images were sourced ethically. These apps scrape the internet for other people's art to add to their data sets without the artist's consent. They're using the artworks as raw materials to generate A.I. images. You can even see some artists' mangled signatures appearing in some of these abominations.

It's daylight robbery and threatens livelihoods. We're getting jacked, plain and simple.

First, A.I. doesn't even make "art." It's just a computer's best attempt at counterfeiting it.

Metaphorically speaking, a collage maker fucked a photo filter while they were both on steroids. Then, one day out pops a mutated little shit that just combs the web for fragments of pre-existing images it can slap together to create something resembling an original image (not unlike a collage) before slapping a visual effect on it (not unlike a filter), to make it look like a piece of art. Whoop-dee-fucking-do.

I'm sure there's more to it than that, but who gives a shit. So, forgive me if I'm not sprouting a big, turgid one at this supposed "technological marvel," like everyone else seems to be doing.

You might as well rip a Banksy off the wall, tape it to a Jeff Koons, then to a Reubens, and call it an "original work."

It appears I've been operating under the ridiculous delusion that this was the whole point of drafting copyright laws in the first place.

People busted their arses for years to improve, get noticed, get work, pay for art school, art supplies, studio space, etc. Literal centuries' worth of work and people's entire lives reduced to a computer program that can regurgitate some malformed digital turd in seconds to serve as an amusing internet trend for fuckwits.

Talented people with a once appreciable skill that's hard enough to monetise as it is, working their arses off for hours, days, or more on a piece only for some dipshit in the comments to ask, "Broooo, what prompts did you use?🥴"

A cartoon of a dumb zoomer eating potato chips and browsing the internet
What a knob.

A.I. imagery, in one form or another, was always an inevitability and does provide a valuable service, like when stock image sites don't have the exact image you're after if you're a smaller content creator, for instance. Which is a pain in the arse, but it's not as if it's an urgent necessity.

If the developers couldn't devise a way to develop their shit without pirating ours, then that's their problem. Their app could have waited, and the world wouldn't have given two shits if it did. Art generation is right up there as one of the lamest and least essential applications of A.I. technology.

A parody of a charity advertisement in the style of World Vision mocking A.I image platforms
Get the fuck outta here.

They should carry a label and only source art from artists who expressly consent to their work being used. Unfortunately, that horse has seemingly bolted by this point.



"Nothing is original; everyone takes inspiration from someone else. This is the same thing."

Adopting a style, a colour scheme, an idea, or another such thing in a transformative work is inspiration. Directly copying another artist in a non-transformative work is plagiarism. Directly using another artist's actual work as raw materials in image creation without permission is straight-up theft.

"It's so vast, and there's so much different art in the data set that it doesn't use enough of one artist's work in one image to be copyright infringement."

Wouldn't that depend on how much of an artist's work a user wants to use in one image? Couldn't they use as much of a specific artist's work as they wish, even almost entirely replicate it by prompting the generator to do precisely that?

However small those increments of our work may be, A.I. image generators are still, technically, brokering the distribution of our intellectual property while leaving it to the discretion of the user just how much of it they want to use.

Napster and Mega Upload got nailed for basically the same thing.

"It makes art more affordable for the people who can't afford to commission an artist."

Fuck them. By that rationale, if you ripped off a truck full of Blu-Ray players and sold them for cheap, I suppose you would be "making Blu-Ray players affordable for the people that can't afford one." But, you would be glossing over the part where you ripped off a truck full of Blu-Ray players.

It isn't a legitimate enterprise, and I doubt that news outlets would be running stories about "the geniuses who revolutionized the way people watch movies."

"The images they produce don't look as good as the real thing."

Until they do. By copying us. Without our consent.

In conclusion, say NO to this bullcrap. It's for dickheads, anyway.

G. Billington Evans is a satirical writer, visual artist, and owner of THEARTOFGEVANS.COM.
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