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AI Art Part 2: What kind of world do we want?

Edited by Sonious as of Wed 15 Feb 2023 - 00:26
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In the second part of this piece, we will consider the rise of AI-generated art from a more subjective point of view, focusing on its ethical and societal implications. In the first part found here, we went over why AI models do not store and reproduce exact copies of the artworks they have been trained on.

Thank you to 'Yote, who has a PhD in computational biology, for providing feedback and fact-checking for this article.

The backlash against AI art endangers the hope for a world where ideas are shared freely

Stable Diffusion contains unauthorized copies of millions—and possibly billions—of copyrighted images.
-Stable Diffusion Litigation

The second major charge levelled against AI is that it is being trained on copyrighted images, without permission, and that only public domain or explicitly-allowed images should be used as training data. I believe that this is both an unreasonable demand, which is not applied to humans, and harmful to the very artists it claims to protect.

Imagine one's eyes worked like a video camera, recording 60 frames per second, and one were awake for 18 hours a day. That would be almost four million frames per day. Images of people, buildings, cars, animals, trees, the sky, films, paintings and so on. All of them under different lighting conditions and seen from different angles. If one attends a furry convention where artists are drawing, one will often see that they have a second page full of reference pictures from different perspectives. Animators will watch video of whatever it is that they are trying to draw, perhaps they willeven bring in live animals to study how they move in person. These experiences are how we know what the world looks like and form the raw material that artists use to create their art.

But, does anyone believe that those reference images used by human artists are all free of copyright? How many artists search for reference photos of animals and then also check the copyright status of those photos, using only the copyright free ones as references? I would be surprised if even a single one did that. Do we believe that human artists can watch a copyrighted film and not have it influence their own work? I know, personally, that if I've spent time reading a good book, it tends to influence my way of writing and thinking immediately afterwards. Why are we trying to hold AI to a standard to which we do not hold human artists? To a standard that we would find completely ridiculous if applied to human artists?

Open-access advocate Aaron Swartz on the importance of being able to share ideas freely. Swartz was driven to suicide by the US government for downloading scientific papers.

While I am generally sympathetic to concerns about AI being trained on copyrighted images and then used to generate commercial images, it is important to note the training is not done with the intention of copying any specific image. Instead, it is done with the intention of learning how to draw different concepts. One may copyright a specific drawing of a fox but one can not copyright the concept of a fox.

What would the furry fandom look like if we demanded that people could not learn from or copy the characters and imagery they see in copyrighted material? Are we saying that artists should not draw those images? Every furry artist that has drawn Pokémon, Digimon, My Little Pony, Zootopia, Helluva Boss, How To Train Your Dragon or Puss In Boots fan art has done so using copyrighted materials. Even some artists who have complained about AI using copyrighted works, have themselves drawn art from copyrighted works. I think that is hypocritical.

Fan content necessitates using copyrighted materials and building on them. This is a great way to learn and gain skills! Some people might think that it's not proper art but I would strongly disagree; the over-one-million words of Fallout Equestria: Murky Number Seven rival almost any "original" English literature. There's never been a strong division between fan creations and original works. Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is great. So was the 1951 Disney animated film adaptation. And the 2000 American McGee's Alice video game. Peter Jackson was a fan of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings long before he adapted it into an epic trilogy for New Line Cinemas. RJ Palmer got to work on Pokémon: Detective Pikachu because of his Pokemon fan art. Whatever criticisms one may have of its literary value, 50 Shades of Grey was originally Twilight fanfiction. We are meant to build on one another's ideas!

Copyright is important for creators but it needs to be balanced with how it impacts society. Modern day copyright protections have been significantly extended. Originally, in the US, copyright lasted for 14 years with the possibility to extend it by a further 14 years if the author was still alive. Presently, US copyright applies for the lifetime of the author plus an additional 70 years and, due to the influence of powerful companies, notably Disney, corporate copyright extends for 95 years!

I fear that the backlash against AI art threatens creativity, both in the furry fandom and broader society, by normalising even stricter interpretations of copyright. Already, copyright is used to suppress the creativity of fans and artists. In contrast to the RJ Palmer story, I know of several furry artists who received cease and desist letters from Nintendo which forced an end to some amazing comics. The same thing happened to a fan-made hack called Pokemon Prism in 2016. Similarly, a crowdfunded , fan-made Star Trek film was shut down by CBS in 2015. However, importantly, even using public domain materials can get your videos a copyright strike from overzealous algorithms and copyright trolls on Youtube. It has happened to me and it recently happened to popular violin duo TwoSetViolin. This is not copyright being used to increase creativity or to protect creativity; this is copyright weaponized by corporations. Artists lose out. Society loses out.

Not only corporations, but also individual artists can be overly-protective, not only of their own artworks, but even of their own art style. This is crazy to me. Artists have been adopting each others' styles for centuries; Impressionism is essentially a lot of people copying other artists' style. (The name "Impressionism" comes from Claude Monet's Impression, soleil levant, although he was not the sole originator of the style.) Characterising an AI trying to learn a specific art style as art theft is thus not justified, and does not make sense either: Theft requires one to deprived of their property; making a copy or using an artwork in a training set does not deprive the original artist of anything.

Rather than turning to the tools of large corporations to restrict and control, we should aspire to help one another. I see a better role model in the free software community which advocates the four freedoms:

• The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
• The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
• The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
• The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Many of those freedoms could be adapted for artwork and would allow the use of artwork to train AI models. None of us, artist or otherwise, lives in isolation. We are part of a community and, as members of the furry fandom, an even more close-knit community than many enjoy. We all learn from and are influenced by one another; our ideas were built on the ideas of others and, in turn, we should allow others to build on ours. Anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin made this point well.

Every machine has had the same history — a long record of sleepless nights and of poverty, of disillusions and of joys, of partial improvements discovered by several generations of nameless workers, who have added to the original invention these little nothings, without which the most fertile idea would remain fruitless. More than that: every new invention is a synthesis, the resultant of innumerable inventions which have preceded it in the vast field of mechanics and industry.

Science and industry, knowledge and application, discovery and practical realization leading to new discoveries, cunning of brain and of hand, toil of mind and muscle — all work together. Each discovery, each advance, each increase in the sum of human riches, owes its being to the physical and mental travail of the past and the present.

By what right then can any one whatever appropriate the least morsel of this immense whole and say — This is mine, not yours?

Artists today benefit from centuries of effort by artists who developed the techniques, colour theory and other tools which are still used today. Modern artists draw using computers and tablets which have been built and refined by countless minds. Digital artwork is drawn with software written by others and, when using programmes like GIMP and Krita, running on Linux, which have been shared freely. Those artworks are hosted for free on furry websites, like SoFurry, which are not run commercially but out of love and relying on the donations of their users. Every artwork is a product of a whole community, of a whole society. Can we now point to our artwork and say, "This is mine and you may not benefit from it in the same manner that I have benefited from so many others"?

Concluding words

At this point, I hope to have achieved two things. I hope to have helped readers better understand how AI functions and to have corrected a common misconception about how AI functions. To me, this is important because it is difficult to have a constructive discussion about a technology if we don't understand how it works. Secondly, I hope to have presented a different way of seeing the AI debate and where the world could go. The social effects of AI art are still to be seen but I hope that they are not seen purely as an issue for artists. Instead, I see the AI debate as being one part of a larger discussion about idea sharing which involves issues like free software and open access to scientific results.

AI will change things and, perhaps, some ways of doing things in the past will no longer be viable. We should try to limit the negative effects on people but we must not overlook the positives. As someone who has tried drawing at various points, I respect the skill that artists have spent time and effort to develop, but artists are not the only people who have stories and images in their heads. How many creative talents are currently excluded because they lack the time to gain those skills? For whatever flaws it may have, AI also offers the opportunity for a more inclusive world, where art creation is open to more people and more ideas can be shared. I hope that is where we are headed.


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Just as an aside, Aaron Swartz's work also directly impacted Flayrah. Swartz was one of the people who developed the RSS standards which are used by Flayrah, and countless other websites, to push content updates to people. In addition, he worked with the Creative Commons team who developed the Creative Commons licences which are the default for Flayrah submissions.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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This is not as bad as some of your positions, Rakuen, but your arguments are in line with your general ethos of "whatever gets me more stuff is correct." I mean, whatever your individual argument for something is, you seem to come down on the side that advantages you every time. Your free speech arguments allow you to say anything without consequence, your cultural appropriation arguments allows you to take anything without consequence, which this argument does as well.

I'm not even saying your arguments are incorrect, individually. But, taken as a whole, they add up to meaning, at the very least, maybe you shouldn't be the one making them.

Also, kind of arguing a side point to your main thrust (but I would argue you're arguing a side point to the main problem I have with AI art), but Mary Lowd's argument that "Everyone gets to create." is just bad, because when you give people the ability to create "who don't have time to develop advanced art skills", they create bad art. Like, okay, you know there's a phrase in customer service, it's terrible, it goes "The customer is always right." Yeah, sure, to their faces. You smile and nod and let the idiot feel like they did something, and then you go back in the back and do the job correctly like you were trained to and they weren't.

And, have you ever worked in a kitchen? Like, seriously, how do people mess up ordering a simple sandwich or pizza so, so badly, again and again? There was a semi-viral article recently about modern day manners, and it advised that your hamburger should not be a salad. And you'd be surprised how often that's the norm. You don't like onions? Cool, neither do I. Add some jalapenos? Ooh, getting spicy, nice! And can I ... nope, three strikes, you're out. You've just been rude, but furthermore, probably whatever monstrosity you're on your way to committing won't even be very good. Okay, that kind of got off topic (obviously a sore spot for me) but also, like, people order literally dangerously all the time. Like, if the menu doesn't offer it, don't order your hamburger anything other than well done, because that means the cooks aren't trained to do anything but that, and they will kill you with undercooked meat.

The saddest story I've ever heard is my brother who puts in hard wood floors for a bunch of nouveau rich-off-oil types, and a guy ordered their most expensive wood floor, not knowing it was that expensive because a. it's actually poisonous, which means the people working on it have to take expensive precautions to make sure they and the customers aren't harmed by it, and b. the wood is actually beautifully multi-colored, with blues and greens, which makes it worth the extra expense for some people. So, the floor was installed like that, only to have the customer angrily complain that he didn't want any blue or green on his floor. So, the whole floor was redone, at even more expense, to make it all brown, but still this rare, poisonous wood, so this idiot could brag about how he got the most expensive wood when way cheaper stuff would have done the same thing without potentially poisoning him. He was paying extra for blue and green he didn't want because he didn't know what he was doing. He made a bad floor.

Of course, that's all perhaps a bit beside the point, and AI art probably won't potentially kill anyone (non-art AIs in general, I mean, I've seen enough sci-fi/horror to guess that's a possibility), and I don't really say you just plain can't make good art with it. But, when someone does finally use it in a decent way (and I've yet to see something much beyond the "huh, that's funny" level from AI at best), it's not going to be someone who, well, doesn't know what they're doing. The limitation of AI that makes it an art tool rather than an artist is that it ultimately can not make choices; to use your example, it can perhaps recognize a picture of a fox, it can create a picture of a fox that I can look at and say "yeah, that's a picture of a fox", and it can then create a second picture of a fox, but if I asked it which of the two pictures of the fox it made is better, it cannot decide. Art is subjective, sure, but at the end of the day, a person can pick out which picture of the same subject they like better, meaning, ultimately, creating "good" art with AI is more about "curation" than "creation". Basically, it is a matter of tastes, sure, but even tastes can and must be trained. I'm a movie critic; believe, I know.

Ultimately, Lowd has the argument backwards; instead training emotionless, tasteless machines to "create" art without all the effort that goes into it, wouldn't it be better to train machines to do the emotionless, tasteless jobs that take up all the time and energy real people need in order to develop advanced art skills? Like, I'm not as down on capitalism as much as furries, but that's some ultra-capitalist dystopia shit right there; machines that do all our leisure and recreation for us so we have more time to work jobs?

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I guess I'll take "not as bad" as a compliment. I think your characterisation is quite unfair though. For one thing, you'll find most people hold positions which "advantage them." But you seem to imply that those positions are cynically chosen to benefit me rather than that I developed certain values and now my actions are in line with those values. Do you also question whether gay people support gay marriage because they think it's right or just because they benefit from it? It also seems like you're cherry picking examples; one of my other major positions is vegetarianism which has many daily disadvantages, e.g. I have 1 option at the cafeteria instead of the 3 or 4 my colleagues get. At some restaurants I get nothing. My belief in free software and privacy means that I choose to run Linux and avoid many common programmes. I've got Steam games that don't run on my devices and sometimes have to go through hoops where other people use tools that are simply more convenient.

I agree that people often do stupid things because they don't know what they're doing (Although I didn't quite follow what the issue was in your hamburger example.) but art is subjective. I'm sure you know that. Your tastes in films are not the same as everyone else's and that's okay. I do think art can be technically bad but that doesn't necessarily make it bad art. It's not clear to me what you think about AI art will make it bad art. There are plenty of professional artists that are doing stupid stuff that I would say is bad art (most abstract painting, taping a banana to a wall). If people can use AI to generate the scenes that they want to see and they enjoy that, how is that bad art?

You say you haven't seen AI do anything more than "huh, that's funny" but AI-generated art has literally won art competitions! (See and and Even a couple of years back, humans couldn't tell human art from AI art and even thought AI art was better! ( In that last case, that's the sort of art that gets into shows but which I think is stupid and as much bad art as any other.

I fully agree AI can and, perhaps, should be used for boring jobs but it can also be used for art. I'm certainly not saying that we should use AI to do art so we can work and I don't think Lowd is saying that either. In fact, I don't think anyone is saying that.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Well, good counterpoint on the vegetarianism (and I guess that might also make the hamburger metaphor even harder, though it was already just a side tangent), I suppose, but I still wonder if your point (I mostly agree with) that copyright laws are overextended would change if you actually owned any copyrights.

On the art winning AIs:

he created 900 iterations of what led to his final three images. He cleaned up those three images in Photoshop, such as by giving one of the female figures in his winning image a head with wavy, dark hair after Midjourney had rendered her headless.

First of all, this is my "curation" argument; if it takes 900 times to do something, you've still put a lot of time developing something (and even then, it is not entirely AI created; he had to modify it to make it not suck).

almost certainly without knowing it was AI art because it’s not like these things are labeled “AI art” and most non-artists wouldn’t be able to tell. Artists or people familiar with hallmarks of AI art can spot the difference, however.

Second winner ... huh. I mean, I'll call it a draw, at worst. Like, if untrained idiots are running the contest, of course they are going to make untrained idiot choices.

The third contest winner would be the strongest, but your source is, well, The Sun, and The Sun's only quoted sources come from the creators of the picture, not the judges in the contest or other experts. But, anyway, this is what he has to say about himself:

I’ve won photography awards. I’ve won awards in filmmaking and things like that.

In other words, he's still put in a lot of time and effort; he just didn't shit out "creativity" one day and get an award. The two awards judged by actual experts went to artists who put a lot of effort into their art, and the one who didn't won a contest by some video game PR guys who were barely paying attention.

As for critiques of modern art, well, you described Impressionism as a "style" that was copied by other artists, and not a specific artistic movements made by a group of artists with an express goal and purpose that was both a response to and rejection of previous artistic movements and is technically the original "Modern Art." The point I am making is that bad art in traditional mediums does not excuse bad art in new mediums; rather the opposite. The purpose of art is not to look like art. It is to be art. And even your contest winners don't seem to have much to say besides "gotcha!"

Whether you reject or accept my pseudo-Marxist reading of Lowd's take, it's still baffling to me that "this is going to make creativity easy!" is a take. It's just going to be this, all over again.

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Like the copyrights I have for my 90 stories here? Or my over 200 art/story submissions on various sites? I've also got scientific articles, a couple hundred personal blog posts and so on. Pretty much all of which are shared freely. The only exceptions are some early scientific papers because we didn't have funding for open access but which I try to do when possible.

I think you're setting a much higher bar for AI generated art than anyone else which makes me think you're trying to have a different discussion. Looking at the rules many furry sites are going with, they are counting it even with AI assistance for a background or something. I've actually made those same arguments as you (; that AI generation is a tool and people using it to make art will need to learn their own skills to get the best results.

It's not that creativity will be "easy," it's that it will be more accessible. AI can help bring ideas into existence but you still need to have the ideas and something to provide as a prompt. What Lowd and I are saying is that there are people that have creative ideas, perhaps great ideas, but lack the skills required to share those ideas with others. If someone who has a really cool story in his head but no time to write a novel or learn how to draw can use AI and prompts to bring that idea into a form which can be shared with others, then that is good.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Okay, I'll just stop leading these with semi-veiled insults, how 'bout that?

But, anyway ...

If someone who has a really cool story in his head but no time to write a novel or learn how to draw can use AI and prompts to bring that idea into a form which can be shared with others, then that is good.

No, it isn't.

There is no idea good enough to justify sloppy execution. Besides, we already have a place for sharing "creative" ideas without effort. It's called Twitter.

But I think the argument is kind of academic because I don't think it will help people share these "ideas" because at the end of the day people with "really cool stories in their head" are not "creative", and AI isn't going to get that story out of their head anymore than a typewriter or a word processing program has been able to in the past. At the end of the day, you're advocating for a creativity based on "ideas" while I'm advocating for a creativity based on the "creative process." The thing is that not all ideas are good; the creative process, because it requires effort, makes the artist think "is this idea worth the effort". Therefore, bad ideas are winnowed out.

But even if the "real cool story" is actually a "real cool story", it still is hurt by the AI process, because there's more to a story than just the story. AI is good at academic essays because you're supposed to sound like a boring fuck for those; but storytelling is as much about the how the story is told as it is the story itself.

Therefore, a person who thinks they are creative because they have "creative ideas" will probably get bored very quickly because they have no training as to which of their creative ideas are bad and not worth actually creating for real, so most of their output will be, and I'll be generous, mediocre at best, without the saving throw of having really good technique to bolster a weak premise, while the rare actually good idea will also be hampered by a lack of good technique, reducing it to also overall mediocre as well. This person may have a bit of initial success, due to the pure novelty of it all, but eventually this will wear off, and the eventual response to this person's "art" will be audience boredom due to the sheer mediocrity of it all, leading to boredom on the part of the creative, and the abandonment of the whole thing.

Or, put it another way, I basically have a testable hypothesis, even if we are dealing with something as subjective as "is the art good or bad?". If I'm right, AI art doesn't matter, and arguing the ethics of art scraping is beside the point. If I'm wrong, well, then my whole argument is beside the point, but AI still might fail because you lose your argument about the ethics of it all.

Also, I think you should be able to mark your own comments as spam. I got it this time, though!

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I don't know, what do we all think about this?


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The subject matter is stupid but I like the aesthetic.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Nailed it!

Well, we agree anyway. I think it's an interesting counterpoint to my theory that technique could save a bad idea.

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Well, now I know what pictures I'm going to be seeing hanging up in fast food joints across the country now. All the more reason to avoid fast food, lol.

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So now that this has expanded I will try to keep the comment brief as AI is a huge topic now. But one point being made here is that the humans are treating the computer differently than the human would treat a human.

I will argue that this is false with two main points:

1) Humans do judge other humans on the methods they evaluate or learn from the materials in question. I know this because I borrowed a "learn to draw" book from my school when I was in primary. On the bus I opened it up and instead of trying to do things free hand I started to put the paper against the book and traced directly.

Oh man, the side eye I got from the person sitting next to me could have killed.

Even when I was not selling this for profit any self gain, I was seen as cheating for doing that.

2) Humans do judge other humans when they use too much of their "inspiration" in their own original pieces. You note this "bug" in the first part where clearly the AI didn't have a robust sample set and so basically almost traced (as I did in the above example). But humans have done this too.

The most infamous example in the music world is the beginning of Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" versus Queen's "Under Pressure".

Vanilla Ice settled out of court with Queen's estate when the lawsuit was pushed forth.


Overall I think your viewpoint is in a way, optimistic. Who do you think the AI is going to end up working for? The regular guy on the street or the multi-billion dollar corporations who can afford to feed the machine and hire a team of lawyers to crush the works of the small time artist who even looks their way to litigate?

Now if there ends up being an AI that can compete with a team of lawyers for pennies on the dollar then perhaps us little guy will start to stand a fighting chance. But even if that was developed, do you think the big corpos are going to go quietly into said night? They created this tangled web of litigation to protect their ass(ets). Sunk cost fallacy is a hell of a drug. It's the main foundation for why the Drug War lasted so long.

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On point 1, there is sometimes a weird demonisation of tracing. I agree tracing and trying to pass that off as your own work is bad (it's plagiarism), I don't think it's a problem as a learning tool. From what I understand there are mixed feelings about it in the art world as well. I think the main question is how effective it is as a learning tool. Tracing is a part of the art process though and has been used by many famous painters; for example Johannes Vermeer (see and Tracing is also the key part of the rotoscoping animation technique ( I'd say those people that are just saying "tracing is bad" with no follow up or nuance just don't know enough to have a conversation on the topic.

Point 2, I think that's a very cherry picked example. I don't know about the controversy there but incorporating inspirations into works is not unusual and can be done and celebrated, recent musical examples that spring to my mind are Nightwish's The Greatest Show on Earth ("The song features short excerpts from Dies Irae, Minuet in G major by Christian Petzold, Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 by Johann Sebastian Bach and Enter Sandman by Metallica,accompanied with a Tibetan chant sung by male parts of the choir which are probably references to the evolution of music and arts as part of evolution of the human race." or Sabaton adapting Tubular Bells in the opening to The Christmas Truce ( References are also common in animations and usually celebrated as Easter eggs. I recently watched Bagi, The Monster of Mighty Nature and there was a clear reference to Disney's Snow White, adapting the "Mirror mirror" scene and even including the box for bringing back a heart.

Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, that's why I also push for free software, so people are in control of what they are using. The problem with AI is that the training data and processing power is generally too much for individuals to work with. We will see what happens. If nothing else, more and more, the tools for people to free themselves from corporations exist.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Well said.

How in artists’ eyes can using AI be theft and drawing fanart of a copyrighted character not be?

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Not a copyright lawyer, but from my understanding, fan arts would actually be more in line with intellectual property protection then copyright.

If you were to make a new game with Mario and Luigi, then you could be found in violation of Nintendo's Intellectual property of the Mario brothers. If you share a rom of Super Mario Odyssey, then you would then be found in violation of Nintendo's copyright of the specific game.

Though, oddly enough it seems that in practice "Intellectual Property" is more of a subset of "Copyright" rather then being exclusive. Which just seems odd to me, but that's law for you.

For example, the things that Growlithe notes that some original IPs were derived from what was at first fanfiction. It is important to realize that it's not too tricky to change things so that you take a piece inspired by fan work and make it into an original IP, which works out better for the artist in the long run.

There are certain companies that will be more vicious with IP protection than others. Nintendo and Mario versus Sega and Sonic being examples of heavy contrast. Sonic fans have whole forums that they discuss making of fan games of all kinds. Mario, Pokémon, or Metroid fans don't, because drawing attention to the IP violations usually leads to cease and desists rather swiftly.

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In a surprise shock twist no one could have possibly seen coming, AI fiction isn't being created by people who like fiction; it's another automated grift that is being mindlessly spammed at publishers to the point they're having to shut down. Even if this is not grifters grifting, and this massive influx is genuinely people hoping to use to AI to create an interesting story, I mean, this is what I mean when I say people who don't understand the creative process don't understand the creative process. They can't even figure out that even if AI can write a decent story, a real person has to be able to find it.

Like, once again, the copyright thing is so beside the point; the problem with AI is not even that's it's so easy to use that even idiots can use it to make art. In fact, it's not. The problem with AI is that idiots believe it is.

For fuck's sake, when your use of robots is so boring science fiction publishers are all like, "naw, get this shit away from me," maybe it's just not that good.

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Need an AI to sort through and oust the AI submissions.

Mutually assured creative deconstruction

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This is assuming that any of the AI submissions are good enough an actual human reader would read them and think "yeah, this is worth publishing", which is a major assumption. I mean, the guy who won the art contest in Rakuen's first example rejected, by his estimation, 900 duds, giving the AI a success rate of 0.1% (and he also further edited the picture himself). And that was a static image, while short stories are sustained works, meaning the 0.1% chance has to occur repeatedly.

The problem isn't recognizing the AI writing, because whether a human wrote unpublishable crap or an AI wrote unpublishable crap, it's still not getting published; the problem is that, once again, these people don't seem to realize that reading a submission takes time. Like, if they sent in one AI story at a time, LIKE A NORMAL PERSON, and waited until they were rejected before trying again, I'm sure these people would still annoy the fuck out publishers, but since they went with the spam model (which, note, the even the static art contest guys were smart enough not to do), they're ruining it for everyone.

Like, I suppose the plan is to get an AI story published, and then use that as a selling point ("Look, our AI fooled a fiction editor!"), but this strategy is just stupid for doing that. Like, they don't understand how publishing works. Do they not understand people read submissions? And even if they're accepted, they're often edited? Which means AI will not be the sole author, wherever you stand on the "copyright/scraping" debate. A human will be involved.

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There are ways to mitigate spam. Spam has been a thing since the forum and email web 1.0 days.

When I'm saying having an AI to evaluate a written work, then it would sort the spam as spam. It could probably recognize AI tropes and start to evaluate it which were human written.

Perhaps requiring a cover letter for the entry could assist the workflow. That way there is something to quickly assess if it's something you are looking for before you dive in and read 20,000 words.

Having an automated email that will respond and inform the person a timeline of when it'd be evaluated.

If the concept of spam is enough to cause a publisher to throw their hands up, there was probably something else wrong with the publisher to begin with. The bigger threat to publishers has been self-publishing these days. So if anything, the reader should be wary of self-published items and authors are going to have to put themselves out there via video and other means to have their audience know they are really real.

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Of course, at this point it's possible to make fake but realistic video as well.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Let's not pretend that people have not always tried to make a quick buck nor that there has never been a flood of poor quality stories or animations which exist solely to ride a trend for profit. I'm sure you're aware that for every successful Disney or Pixar film there are a bunch of cheap rip-offs that presumably make their money by tricking people into thinking they're buying the original film. AI is neither the first nor the last tool which will be misused by the greedy.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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You know what, my sources are obviously one-sided, and I'd like to see what the other side thinks they're doing, actually.

Like, are they really this stupid, and think this will work? And is it just about money, or are there "true believers" involved? Or is this actively malicious (there have been some speculation, as the main publisher complaining was vocally anti-AI)?

I wonder if this started out similar to the AI art contests, one submission at a time, maybe even curated, but the mediocre results in a more challenging medium meant they were always rejected (as mediocre, not AI) before and now they're in desperation mode.

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Hmm. I want to get better at drawing. I know what I'll do! Instead of drawing, I'll start tracing AI composited pictures. 500 IQ move!

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AI: Good luck tracing my work with those 8 digit monstrosities that are attached to your arms.

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About the author

Rakuen Growlitheread storiescontact (login required)

a scientist and Growlithe from South Africa, interested in science, writing, pokemon and gaming

I'm a South African fur, originally from Cape Town. I'm interested in science, writing, gaming, all sorts of furry stuff, Pokemon and some naughtier things too! I've dabbled in art before but prefer writing. You can find my fiction on SoFurry and non-fiction on Flayrah.