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Artists Are Getting Concerned about AI Art

Artist Greg Rutkowski is worried he won’t be able to find his work because the internet will be flooded with AI art.

The popularity of AI-generated art is growing every day, and this fact has unveiled several problems, including artists' place and importance as well as the issue of copyright. Greg Rutkowski, a digital artist known for his fantasy works, has faced both of them.

His style is one of the most commonly used prompts in the text-to-image model Stable Diffusion, and while it might seem flattering, when Rutkowski wanted to check if his work had been published, he found art that wasn't his but had his name on it.

“It’s been just a month. What about in a year? I probably won’t be able to find my work out there because [the internet] will be flooded with AI art,” Rutkowski says. “That’s concerning.” 

AI art generators' databases don't ask for the author's permission to use their works for training, so they might not even know their work has been included. Stable Diffusion was trained on the datasets collected by LAION. LAION collected all HTML image tags that had alt-text attributes, classified the resulting 5 billion image-pairs based on their language, and then filtered the results into separate datasets using their resolution, a predicted likelihood of having a watermark, and their predicted 'aesthetic' score." You can find out about the images used to train Stable Diffusion in Andy Baio and Simon Willison's work.

Thus, Rutkowski's art is pretty "AI-friendly" as there are a lot of examples on the internet in good quality as well as alt text describing the images, which makes neural networks better understand if the picture is relevant to the prompt.

Naturally, there are other artists concerned about their works being used without their permission and, perhaps more importantly, losing income and even their jobs due to AI being capable of generating virtually anything. Illustrator Karla Ortiz has also found her work in Stable Diffusion’s data set and has been raising awareness about the issues around AI art and copyright. Moreover, she is worried AI collecting information may lead to privacy violations.

“There is a coalition growing within artist industries to figure out how to tackle or mitigate this,” says Ortiz. One of the suggestions is that AI models could be trained on images in the public domain, and AI companies could forge partnerships with museums and artists. 

The artists don’t have the choice to opt in or out of the database right now. Interestingly, Midjourney's founder David Holz said there hadn't been any complaints about copyright, moreover, some artists consider the AI tool an art student that has its own style. Holz added that the team is open to removing images if their authors don't want them used.

Seems like there's a need for some regulations when it comes to AI-generated art as more and more people have different opinions on what's fair to use. Rutkowski says he doesn’t blame people for using his name in prompts. For them, “it’s a cool experiment,” he says. “But for me and many other artists, it’s starting to look like a threat to our careers.” 

Read the article containing more points of view on Technology Review and don't forget to join our Reddit page and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more. 

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Comments 3

  • Anonymous user

    The Napster of the art world. Wrong on so many levels!


    Anonymous user

    ·a year ago·
  • Anonymous user

    At this moment in time,  the tools are relatively primitive for most uses,  and while it's tremendously exciting to see what you can do with them,  they are basically like Photoshop,  Illustrator and Google images combined with steroids,  but there's a lot of (skilled) user input required for a usable result.  
    The images ought be legally required to be invisibly watermarked by these sites,  to protect the source inspirational artist and AI-artists IP.
    Are you worried or might take your job ? Have a few conversations with Siri and tell me how soon that's going to happen  😜


    Anonymous user

    ·a year ago·
  • Anonymous user

    I can absolutely understand the concern of the artists.
    But as it is, it's more of a tool that really shines in the hands of an artist, because raw  the images usually aren't that great. But the technology is rapidly advancing.

    It's also interesting to see how many hear the name Greg Rutkowski for the first time. Loads of people get to know about some amazing artist that they never heard of before.
    Sure, many of them might not need the exposure, but especially Greg is becoming  something of a Legend in the AI community.


    Anonymous user

    ·a year ago·

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