AI Art Generation: Beneficial or Problematic?

Started by Lyndis, November 21, 2023, 12:17:44 AM

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Lyndis

I went looking to see if a thread on this topic already existed. Please direct me appropriately if so.

AI Art Generation: Beneficial or Problematic?

Everyone and their mama has heard about AI art generators and the various arguments and opinions folks have about them by now. Stable Diffusion, Dream, Craiyon, even applications like Lensa that use AI to augment existing images and countless others are arriving by the day. They've quickly become a mainstay in almost every artistic community I'm apart of or adjacent to. I've heard people argue both in favor and against their use, especially when it comes to collecting a profit off what people generate, and now I want to hear it from ya'll.

Which side of the spectrum do you fall? Is AI a legitimate tool for people to use in artistic "creation", or do you feel more strongly about how it borrows from the artists these various engines "sample"? Do you think it's ethical for people to make money using these programs? Do you feel similar about AI text generators? Would you play a game, read a book, or consume other media that was made entirely from AI? Do you feel that artists should disclose whether or not AI was used in their works?

Why or why not?

Zaer Darkwail

I view AI Art generator as a tool, a tool to create quick concept art. Tool by its nature is not evil/bad, it's how you use it. Should you get paid money for using AI Art tool? It depends largely on how much work you do, edits, and how closely it matches client's desires. As AI Art tool is not precise; it randomizes things quite often. So real artists have still a solid advantage (for now, as any technology with AI involved it can improve precision overtime).

When comes to the morality of sampling things; many people misunderstand how the AI Art generation works and just assume it directly copies the sampled works when in truth it merely adapts the styles and techniques from said samples. Like any real person is doing and that is the most amazing part of the system that it mimics just that tiny part of human intelligence. Naturally, if AI copies someone's work, it's plagiarism, but I haven't seen so far any AI that had done a 'perfect copy' of existing work by accident (unless AI Art generator user had wanted a perfect copy). You cannot copyright styles, so naturally some artworks created have similarities to some artists styles.

But other hand I also understand the threat of AI Art to artists as a career choice; why would corporations or any business hire artists when they can get AI Art generator to do work for them? Corporation's sole focus is to make money, if they can 'save' money in not spending it on artists they definitely will do it if that is part of their strategy. That in itself is not evil cause humans have across centuries abandoned using tools that have become inefficient in any form; there is the reason we have steel axes instead stone axes after all and corporations are seeking to make money most efficient way.

We live now in a transitional period where many things are decided between old morals/ideals vs the future, morally many people believe if they boycot everything AI related (writing, art etc), it will cease be used. But the problem is; it will not go away even if they boycot it. It can be adapted to be used for something else instead or used more secretly until it grows better to point that you no longer can tell AI Art from regular art.

But the same problem as AI Art generation has with artists and their careers, AI threatens *all careers*, not just artists. In long term ideal is that everyone globally gets basic income which secures all necessities of life without needing to do anything. If want more cash; then do more work where AI is not yet developed or not allowed to perform duties (like in the military there is already global agreement not let AI handle battlefield situations; trigger must always pulled by human). But cooking, physical labor and maybe social media or customer services can handled with AI and that eliminates quite lot of jobs.

So the government needs to develop new jobs, or an entirely new system where going to work is an optional choice rather than a mandatory one. So human artists can do artwork for personal enjoyment than need to perfect the craft so they get paid for it.

Timeless

Quote from: Zaer Darkwail on December 15, 2023, 10:28:27 AMWhen comes to the morality of sampling things; many people misunderstand how the AI Art generation works and just assume it directly copies the sampled works when in truth it merely adapts the styles and techniques from said samples. Like any real person is doing and that is the most amazing part of the system that it mimics just that tiny part of human intelligence. Naturally, if AI copies someone's work, it's plagiarism, but I haven't seen so far any AI that had done a 'perfect copy' of existing work by accident (unless AI Art generator user had wanted a perfect copy). You cannot copyright styles, so naturally some artworks created have similarities to some artists styles.

I am not going to get into this debate, but I'm just replying to educate.

This video explains why artists are tired of AI. I'm an artist, and it's not about the AI taking our jobs. It's not about how we're scared of change. They are using our artworks - our sweat, blood and tears - and using them as data for their AI programmes without our consent.


Zaer Darkwail

Thank you, that was an educational video to show.

So far as I know federal law has already ruled out that AI Art generated work is not considered 'unique' and thus not protected by copyright law. In the specific term, 'if art was not touched/created by human hands, it's not unique'. Of course, this leaves the loophole that if you generate art via AI, then after that generation you do some work on it as a human (do fixes, color fixes, shape fixes, add details etc), and then it becomes unique.

The source of the AI has not yet been addressed so far as I know, but if it's classified as illegal in present circumstances then all AI Art generators get reboot/memory wiped on databases (as no doubt no companies would compensate artists they took from; they just erase material which is now illegal to use). So they will then go the route of hiring artists to train AI Art bots and develop their own 'inside company' styles which AI art generator will use as a database.

My stance remains the same you cannot argue legally for AI Art copying a style as style cannot be copyrighted, but I agree that artists have the right to tell whether or not their Art can be used to train AI to learn their style first place or not. You can deny resources that AI Art draws learning from.

rhev

Here's the main problem that I see.

It's hard to judge history when you're smack dab in the middle of it.

Was Andy Warhol an artist?  There were plenty of people in his time who said he wasn't... painting soup cans?  come on!  That's not art!
How about 'piss christ' ?  Is that art?
How about Monet?
How about ... how about ... how about....

History is rife with people who have innovated and built artistic impressions by standing on the shoulders of those who came before and have been criticized as not being artists.

I am old enough to remember when widespread usage of 'photoshop' was decried as 'not real art' and that anyone using it wasn't an artist.  I defy you to find anyone who operates in today's digital age who feels that way today.  I know several digital artits who use it daily and on any finished piece of art.

I think the video linked above makes some excellent points, but I don't agree with all of them.  For example, the comparison to an artist gaining inspiration whereas an ai model is simply copying.  I quite frankly don't agree with that assertion that he makes.  Sure a computer can 'copy' but when it's blending styles and images, it isn't just copying.  In addition, any artist today is building on several millennia of art that came before, even if he doesn't know he is.  No artist in today's world was born in a cave, picked berries and drew on a wall completely independent of previous experience and input from the world of art around him. 

AI image generation is a tool.
Does that tool need to be regulated?  Very well perhaps.
Is it myopic to say that the world isn't fair and that what's happening is unfair to artists?  I believe so.

I don't think it's fair that I got fired from my job because the economy took a downturn.  But it did.
I don't think it's fair that someone else has a better car than I do because they were born to a wealthy family and I a poor one.  But they do.
etc etc etc

The world continues to move forward.  AI is a genie that is never going back in the bottle, short of an apocalyptic scenario.  And I think that 50 years from now we're going to look back on this time and look at the people that fight against it as luddites.

Is that fair?  That's for you to decide.

Zaer Darkwail

Just add that the AI is not sentient, thus it has no feelings. Including inspiration. However, it has a program that randomizes elements if they haven't been defined by input given by text or guidelines given by images (as some AI Art programs allow drawing something based on existing images which is used as a reference for pose or general looks before it warps/changes it). It randomizes every time when you generate even if using the same exact inputs unless you specifically tell 'generate using same seed' and then it duplicates the result perfectly unless adding new words into the input.

So long AI Art remains non-sentient and unfeeling, it should viewed as a tool. It would not have stirred much as a mess if not for reckless database collecting by companies. Before this artists did not know it was possible to take their work into the program and but into the blender without their consent. So I do support the claim that AI Art is not copying, but it's not unique by the law (concerning copyright laws) cause it uses databases based on other works.

But morally right the database should have been built more either by buying commercial rights or trained AI using in-company house artists to give samples to it instead of directly taking online their sources without telling artists about it. It's like building fruit cake from fruits you stole from other's gardens. True the fruit is no longer its original form, taste, or shape, but cake would not exist without those fruits.

rhev

I'd also like to add a video counterpoint to the video above.  While it strays slightly from the topic of if AI is problematic or not, it does a lot to dispel the notion that AI art is just 'copying' or 'theft' that seems to be prevalent.  This isn't a black or white issue, there isn't a correct answer.

Shad is a well-known YouTuber who had built his career with his knowledge of medieval weaponry.  In this video, he goes over the process of how he used AI to create an image that got a lot of hate on Twitter.


https://youtu.be/OdnAd6-vWns?si=djKjhWofyVo7fQ3A

If you watch this video you see the amount of time and effort that he puts into the image generation and how many steps it takes to go from the original concept to the finished piece.  In this video you see how AI is a 'tool', it is a brush that he uses to create his artwork.  I think this is an important part of the discussion because there seems to be, quite often, a misconception that people just go to their AI and say "Give me this image in this style," and generate a perfect image.  AI is a tool that allows more people to create images that they could not have done on their own, and breaks away the gatekeeping that often comes in the artistic world.

Generally speaking, I still stand on the side of 'artists' who have their work stolen from them.  But it's not a simple issue, it's not art theft, trying to classify this argument as such ignores the nuances and complexities of an emerging phenomenon. 

Zaer Darkwail

The issue of it being art theft is because AI is taught using those arts, even if it does not duplicate the original, the matter is it used the original to learn without the artist's consent. When you commission art from an artist, often there is an option to pay for a commercial license. Commercial means you, the one who bought the art, can use artist's work for commercial purposes. Basically, make money out of it.

The AI Art generator sites used, without permission nor paying for a commercial license, numerous artist's original works which they had published online. True, numerous artists do copy or learn from other artists and thus AI Art generator needs exposed similar manner to how other artists work to learn. But the difference is that; the AI Art generator is a tool, a brush, which is sold to numerous others. It's a software, not a person.

Also besides Shad's method, there are people who just uses lazy ways to get simple, flawed, artwork and spam the bot until they get the desired result and post online and call it 'their art'. This is not true, as technically the AI Art bot is the artist, not them. They more 'commissioned' art from the AI Art bot, just type what they desire and AI Art bot does their best how create it (and as mentioned according to supreme law's decision this work is not protected by copyright by clause it's not original enough work to be protected). Shad's method I view is a more correct way to use AI Art as a tool and have a more artistic way of using it but even then I would call it cooperation with AI Art bot (and would be protected by copyright cause Shad had direct involvement and editing on the work and thus human effort is involved).

Naturally, even if AI Art bot had started by legally used method achieve teaching it (which is hiring several artists and teaching the bot samples of work through a couple of years until achieving perfection), the artists online would have been still upset like any industry is upset. Like how folks were upset by photoshop coming first time decades ago. Eventually, AI Art will be a tool but for now, it's viewed hugely negative way how it was taught, and how it's used at the moment. It can become the industry standard to use it as AI Art tools can replace workforces in corporate settings, but it would leave room for artists to still thrive (as freelancers mostly, but some could hired to corporations and use AI Art tool cause artists are the best ones to use it).

AlizsahTheBard

Quote from: rhev on January 10, 2024, 07:31:49 AMI'd also like to add a video counterpoint to the video above.  While it strays slightly from the topic of if AI is problematic or not, it does a lot to dispel the notion that AI art is just 'copying' or 'theft' that seems to be prevalent.  This isn't a black or white issue, there isn't a correct answer.

Shad is a well-known YouTuber who had built his career with his knowledge of medieval weaponry.  In this video, he goes over the process of how he used AI to create an image that got a lot of hate on Twitter.


https://youtu.be/OdnAd6-vWns?si=djKjhWofyVo7fQ3A

If you watch this video you see the amount of time and effort that he puts into the image generation and how many steps it takes to go from the original concept to the finished piece.  In this video you see how AI is a 'tool', it is a brush that he uses to create his artwork.  I think this is an important part of the discussion because there seems to be, quite often, a misconception that people just go to their AI and say "Give me this image in this style," and generate a perfect image.  AI is a tool that allows more people to create images that they could not have done on their own, and breaks away the gatekeeping that often comes in the artistic world.

Generally speaking, I still stand on the side of 'artists' who have their work stolen from them.  But it's not a simple issue, it's not art theft, trying to classify this argument as such ignores the nuances and complexities of an emerging phenomenon.

I have only one thing to say PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't use Shadiversity as an example of benefits of A.I. Artists have been mocking his videos and when you know his history with artists and how he often refused to pay their rates it makes it look even worse. A.I Art should only be used two ways personally or as a foundations for something else to be worked upon. Shad is infamous in the artist community and there is multiple videos debunking his claims.
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Zaer Darkwail

Yeah, Shadiversity issue with artists is longer than AI issue and there are even old clips to prove them. He had clear jealousy going on with his brother as well who is an artist. So Shad's views are a very biased source of information.

Only what can be taken from his video is just one method of using AI; creating images, editing, putting through the machine again a couple of times, editing, and so on until you get the final result.

But overall AI discussion is very much emotion-driven on both sides of the argument in most cases, so actually having a decent discussion about it on neutral grounds on both sides is rare.

Oniya

So, didn't see this coming.

There are apparently rising concerns about how the computational resources of generative AI (which includes both art and text 'bots') are impacting carbon emissions and fresh water resources.  Simply training GPT-3 can evaporate 700,000 liters of fresh water - and it has to be fresh, clean water so that bacteria, detritus, and other inclusions don't gum up the cooling units.
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Zaer Darkwail

That is quite a bit of a surprise, but we need to remember the issue comes from increased hardware and electricity use for the use of data. AI is highly popular and thus, the increase is noticeable, but the same element would have happened with anything that would have dramatically increased electricity or data usage/processing.

Good that environmental issues will be addressed now regarding AI but it should expand every field where heavy electricity or data usage is used (like running massive internet networks or places that store and handle data in daily basis).

Darwishi

As an artist, I'm actually liking the way that AI is developing as a tool.  I'm probably the only one.

I also admit, when I first heard about it, I was outraged that companies might take this shortcut and cut my job.  But then I tried to use AI.  I very quickly found out that it was no different than using a 3D modeling program or photoshop or Adobe Illustrator (the original AI... makes it super confusing to abbreviate now... annnyway). Basically, it's a tool. One that I and other artists need to get a lot better at using if we want to stay ahead of the curve.

Cry foul if you wish, but AI is here to stay, and it is an amazing shortcut to pumping out concept art and getting mood boards together.  So yeah, I'm one of the few artists that actually likes AI. In fact, I find myself looking at AI art and going "Hmm, this AI artist is really good." Which is no different than me liking a particular painter or 3D artist.

Anyway, my two cents...

Zaer Darkwail

I am glad some artists actually try to use AI art generators and view them as a tool that needs to be mastered rather than a threat to their careers (it is a threat naturally but artists can grab the initiative in mastering it and thus be forerunners as users). Ofc morality of sources where it learns from (and now energy consumption) problems need to be addressed eventually, but as an overall tool, it's good once those issues are resolved.

GloomCookie

Quote from: Oniya on February 08, 2024, 10:52:08 PMSo, didn't see this coming.

There are apparently rising concerns about how the computational resources of generative AI (which includes both art and text 'bots') are impacting carbon emissions and fresh water resources.  Simply training GPT-3 can evaporate 700,000 liters of fresh water - and it has to be fresh, clean water so that bacteria, detritus, and other inclusions don't gum up the cooling units.
So this is a bit of an alarming statement but it is also incredibly misleading a statement. What that 700,000 liters value isn't taking into account is the fact that different locations consume different amounts of water to generate the electricity. The values range from 1.199L/kWh in Singapore to 9.501L/kWh in Washington, and also can vary based on the time of day, the type of fuel being used, etc.

Section 4.1 itself states:
QuoteJudiciously deciding "when" and "where" to train a large AI model can significantly affect the water footprint. As shown in Figures 2(a) and 2(b), the water efficiency has spatial-temporal diversity - on-site water efficiency changes due to variations of outside weather conditions, and off-site water efficiency changes due to variations of the grid's energy fuel mixes to meet time-varying demands (Figure 2(c)) [44,65]. In fact, water efficiency varies at a much faster timescale than monthly or seasonably. Therefor, by exploiting spatial-temporal diversity of water efficiency, we can dynamically schedule AI training and interference to cut the water footprint.
So yes, AI could use as much as 700,000 liters of water training a large model AI... or it might not. Depends on the following factors as stated in the paper: weather, time of day, fuel used in producing electricity, efficiency of the power grid, water consumption in the area, etc.
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Oniya

Not only 'could' use that much water/electricity, but 'has been' using that much.  The data that I linked to showed actual statistics of the water usage, and how it has increased by time.  Google actually engaged in a lawsuit to prevent a public records request that was initiated to find out how much water was actually being used by their three data-centers that were built in a 'meteorologically dry region'.

Google plans to build two more centers at that same site.
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Robin Williams-Dead Poets Society ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Don't think your world's gonna fall apart
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LostInTheMist

The environmental impact element isn't even something I considered.

There is some use to AI image generation, and that's getting EXACTLY what you want for a character model in a role-playing game without learning to draw yourself. As someone who can't draw a straight line worth a damn, and who can't afford paying an artist to draw characters for me, I really appreciate having such a tool available. I usually do use actors or models, but with AI, I have, on occasion, been able to generate (for example) elves or cardassians or andoorians or [etc.] without having to rely on the few examples of such exist in art or television/movies. (Even elves run up against a difficulty when you're looking for a brown-skinned, green-haired wood-elf dual wielding a dagger and a hand-axe wearing green and brown clothing and riding boots.)

As someone who really wants a picture, I'm used to compromise. AI art allows me to eschew the compromise in many cases....

On the other hand, I appreciate the artists whose work is being used to train these AI systems without their permission.

So I put down "depends", because I like the convenience of it, but I need to think more on the moral (and now environmental) considerations.
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Darwishi

Quote from: LostInTheMist on February 10, 2024, 08:15:03 AMThere is some use to AI image generation, and that's getting EXACTLY what you want for a character model in a role-playing game without learning to draw yourself. As someone who can't draw a straight line worth a damn, and who can't afford paying an artist to draw characters for me, I really appreciate having such a tool available. I usually do use actors or models, but with AI, I have, on occasion, been able to generate (for example) elves or cardassians or andoorians or [etc.] without having to rely on the few examples of such exist in art or television/movies. (Even elves run up against a difficulty when you're looking for a brown-skinned, green-haired wood-elf dual wielding a dagger and a hand-axe wearing green and brown clothing and riding boots.)

As someone who really wants a picture, I'm used to compromise. AI art allows me to eschew the compromise in many cases....

This is why, I think, most traditional artists (illustrators mostly) get irritated with AI art.  A lot of people go in saying "I'm not an artist, but look at this amazing piece of AI art I generated."  If you generated a piece of art with a tool... then you are, in fact, an artist. =P 

For example, for the most part I'm more of a graphic designer/animator.  I use computer programs to come up with designs and/or animations.  I do not illustrate with a pencil and paper nor do I animate with cells and a peg board.  Traditional animators from back in the day (talking about before Flash or After Effects existed) may consider what I do not "animation" or not "graphic design"... all because I use different tools. 

What's interesting to me, is this thought that because you do art with AI that you are not an artist. You even said it yourself (more or less), when you ARE an artist, you just use a different tool.  I find that it's not that you're "not paying an artist" but you have the vision in your mind and would rather create that vision yourself.  Since you can't use pencil and paper, you are using the tools that you have available.  You're an AI artist, wear the artist badge proudly.

GloomCookie

There's nothing wrong with considering your environmental impact on the world.

That study does have me thinking though about how much average water consumption, either directly or via electricity generation, the average person around the world uses. I'm sure it's a lot more than people consider.

Of course, the evaporation of water doesn't really destroy the water, just evaporates it and it enters the water cycle. For some regions, like Arizona, New Mexico, California, etc., I'm sure they're much more worried about that than someone like me who lives in a rather water lush region that has lots of access to fresh drinking water, and in fact when it rains our biggest problem is trying to get that water away so that it doesn't cause flooding.

Quote from: Darwishi on February 10, 2024, 12:16:49 PMThis is why, I think, most traditional artists (illustrators mostly) get irritated with AI art.  A lot of people go in saying "I'm not an artist, but look at this amazing piece of AI art I generated."  If you generated a piece of art with a tool... then you are, in fact, an artist. =P 

For example, for the most part I'm more of a graphic designer/animator.  I use computer programs to come up with designs and/or animations.  I do not illustrate with a pencil and paper nor do I animate with cells and a peg board.  Traditional animators from back in the day (talking about before Flash or After Effects existed) may consider what I do not "animation" or not "graphic design"... all because I use different tools. 

What's interesting to me, is this thought that because you do art with AI that you are not an artist. You even said it yourself (more or less), when you ARE an artist, you just use a different tool.  I find that it's not that you're "not paying an artist" but you have the vision in your mind and would rather create that vision yourself.  Since you can't use pencil and paper, you are using the tools that you have available.  You're an AI artist, wear the artist badge proudly.
I can make some art. My specialty is CAD drawings and some other types of media, but I'm shit when it comes to making character art. And used to, my only option was to either blatantly grab a character that sorta looked like what I wanted or straight up pay an artist. Now? I have a ton of options, be it a sketch I toss into an AI generator and produce the art, or just use text generation.

I think AI tools are incredibly useful for helping people visualize something, even if it means some artists lose out, because it helps people get across their point and meaning using tools they'd otherwise struggle with. Language is a big one, and just being able to come up with a rough draft of a letter to express certain sentiments is beneficial.

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CriminalMindsFan

I like it as a tool for animated movies, TV shows and life in general but saw a article about an AI social media model with followers that have sent her marriage proposals. She is even being used to provide virtual companionship and chats with people for a fee. When I can't tell difference between a female model with a real heart beat and an AI generated model on social media, there is a problem with society in general. Some aren't giving indication that the model isn't real on their posted content as there are no rules to make them to my knowledge.

Oniya

Quote from: CriminalMindsFan on February 11, 2024, 11:38:22 PMWhen I can't tell difference between a female model with a real heart beat and an AI generated model on social media, there is a problem with society in general.

I'm sure you've seen the articles about the AI-generated Taylor Swift pictures (I can locate them if needed).  This would definitely fall under the category of 'bad actor', rather than 'bad technology', but it is something that should be addressed somewhere.  It's not that far a leap from 'celebrity nude deep-fake' to 'deep-fake revenge porn'.
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Zaer Darkwail

Yeah, deep fake porn movies including public figures/celebrities crosses the line definately. Some had used AI to create funny/memes from public figures but considering the porn industry has still a stigma and is an entirely different context it would cross the line even if the porn industry would not have still a stigma to it.

Plus it sort sideline touches on possible issues in the future if we develop/perfect creating robots/robotic companions that have AI installed in them (creating perfect copies of people), I imagine celebrities or public figures would call for copyright protection laws for their appearance and persona. Even if said robots/androids never leave the house are only used for sexual purposes.

Lyndis

I think that's my biggest beef with AI at the moment. Many, many folks are unable to discern AI from real-life images and this has already been used as a tool for misinformation and propaganda with the conflicts in Ukraine and most recently with Palestine and Israel. It's easier for folks who know what to look for, but the average person who doesn't often engage with art, let alone the small distinctions that give away AI generated art that are being eliminated by engines the more people use them (like being able to look for alien hands or hair melding into clothing), are generally not going to be able to tell and usually don't do their due diligence in following up what they first encounter.

Zaer Darkwail

Yeah, the only reason I can spot AI art easier (and quicker) is cause I myself use AI Art generator often and know where AI stumbles and has flaws still. I can count in one hand fingers how many times I was fooled and it was always someone who was very good at image editing to reach the perfect photographic image after AI process.

CriminalMindsFan

I was seeing lot of suggested stewardess posts on Facebook last month and each one was wearing revealing uniforms so I suspected they were all AI generated. The pages also had middle eastern names and while I know some of the airlines over there tend to have sexy stewardesses, I still held with my belief the one's I was seeing were AI generated women in stewardess uniforms. They had flawless skin, perfect faces and huge difference between bust size and waist size.