ICYMI the internet has been on fy-uh the last few weeks over the rise in popularity of AI generated art.
“It’s stealing from artists.”
“It’s already hard enough to make money as an artist.”
And a dozen more like this.
The thing is it’s not going away. We can yell and scream and rail against this thing but at the end of the day it isn’t going anywhere. At least not by force. It may peter out, will likely lose momentum as the new wears off but it’s not going to go anywhere by force.
Because if Disney, which protects its IP like a CIA casefile wasn’t willing to go after the creators of these art generators . . . well, I’m not sure what to glean from that but it definitely means something. Either they didn’t think it was truly theft/copyright infringement, they could see the future and realized the fight would be futile . . . there are a dozen reasons why Disney would decide not to throw their hat in the lawsuit ring but I think it’s incredibly telling that they didn’t.
I am not saying artists should roll over and just let it happen. But for generations there have been advances to the way we produce art and for every advance there has been a generation of existing artists who are angry about the new “technology.”
Technology in quotations because that includes things like synthetic dyes to replace cochineal bugs for making red paint. At every turn there has been some advancement that has upset the artists community.
And at every turn there have been artists who have embraced change and figured out how to make these new tools work in their favor.
Is it fair to train the artificial intelligence using the hard work of unsuspecting artists? Maybe not but I ask you . . . how did you learn?
Because I drew the same image of Taz close to 800 times in my teens. And I got to the point I was drawing him from memory. I knew where all the curves and angles belonged and I could recreate that drawing without a reference. And from that, I learned how cartoon drawing worked.
I still struggle to create my own images from my brain. I am never quite satisfied with what I come up with.
And you know what?
I’m also not 100% satisfied with what I get from an AI generator. I’ve seen some positively exquisite images come out of AI but I cannot find the right sequence of search terms to get the same level for myself.
Right now, people are using AI to submit to art contests and overthrow traditional artists. Maybe next year or in two years or five years, there will be contests solely devoted to AI generation and those images will be judged separately, leaving the traditional artists back where they have always been. Right now, the organizers of these art competitions were not prepared for AI generated images. Next year, they may compensate for it and create a new category.
What I’m trying to say is you can expend all the energy in the world creating petitions and filing lawsuits, or you can keep creating art for the love of creating art and understand that the people using AI generated images were never going to be your clientele anyway.
You are not losing customers to AI art generators. AI generators are just weeding out the people who don’t want to pay a fair price for the work you are creating. It’s actually doing you a favor. Because those “pay you in exposure” people now have access to free art, freeing up your time for people who are more interested in compensating you for your time and skill.
It’s all a matter of perspective. But the reality is this technology is not going to be forced out of existence. Embrace it and figure out how to make it work to your advantage OR rail against it and elevate your blood pressure. The way I see it, those are the options available as of press time.