Whenever AI is brought into discussion, there are often rumblings of panic and controversy surrounding it. In the case of AI-generated art, this situation concerns the many living and working artists. The questions that are being asked; is AI art stealing? How ethical is generating AI art? Who is the artist? As you peruse our site, you may have noticed inclusion of some AI art. As researchers looking into various ethical issues raised by cutting edge science (including AI) this has piqued our interest in the debate into its use.
What do we mean by AI Art? Primarily, this refers to text-to-images that have been generated through the use of artificial intelligence models. Several different AI imagery generators are available, such as MidJourney, Dream Up and DALL-E. These tools are trained on large data sets that contain a considerable quantity of copyrighted images produced by artists.
The reason that this is causing a stir in the art community is that it is their work that is being used to generate these images often without credit or consent. There are currently ongoing legal proceedings in the form of a class action lawsuit. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this and what it means for AI copyright claims. AI tools are also affecting the music industry, so visual artists are not the only vocal opponents.
Supporters of AI-driven art have been vocal in their support for this emerging art form. They argue that this is an innovative avenue for art and that progress should not be hindered. One argument stems from the idea that everything that is created with AI tools is ‘new’. Many supporters have claimed that this art form’s accessibility online has opened the creative world of art for everyone. Another reason for its popularity is that it’s in line with society’s need for instant gratification – often only taking a few seconds for the image to generate.
Whether you are critical, supportive or ambivalent, AI advances mean that these ethical and legal questions about its use will become more prevalent in the years to come. It also begs the question of what we consider art to be. If AI is an art form, then who is the artist? Would it be the human or AI?
Written by Ugbaad Aidid