AI-generated imagery is here, but is it art and should we care? - The UpStream

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AI-generated imagery is here, but is it art and should we care?

posted Monday Dec 19, 2022 by Scott Ertz

It seems like every day there is a new headline about AI-generated imagery. The technology is becoming more and more advanced, with some people believing that it could take over traditional art forms in the near future. However, as the technology grows, so does the controversy around it. Copyright and intellectual property violations are among the biggest concerns for professionals in the art world, who argue that AI-generated imagery isn't real art. So, what do we do? Should we be paying attention to this new form of art or should we let the professionals decide?

The expanding technology

The tech of AI-generated imagery has a number of ethical implications. Since the images are created using pre-existing source material, some argue that they can't be considered "true" art since it's not original creations. There is also the issue of ownership and control over the artwork, which is something that professional creatives have been fighting for years to protect.

AI-generated imagery is also a relatively new form of "art," so it's hard to predict how it will develop over time. The technology can be used in a variety of ways, from creating surreal landscapes and abstract paintings to animating characters and objects in video games. It can also be used to create photorealistic images that are indistinguishable from photographs taken by professional photographers.

Is this art or a high-tech forgery?

The debate over AI-generated imagery is still ongoing, with some believing that it should be considered a form of art while others are concerned about the implications of its use. On one hand, many view AI-generated images as a way to create something new and unique. On the other hand, there is concern that this technology could lead to widespread forgery of existing works or even trivialize genuine art creations by making them easy to copy and replicate.

Considering these ethical issues, it's important to think about how we will handle AI-generated imagery in the future. Will we operate in full compliance with copyright laws? How can we ensure that professional artists' intellectual property rights are respected? Ultimately, it will require an effort from both creators and critics of AI-generated imagery to come up with an ethical system that works for everyone.

Artists weigh in

The comics industry has taken a very strong stand against AI-generated imagery. BOOM Studios! Acquisition Editor Jon Moisan has spoken out about the issue and worries that AI-generated imagery will lead to disenfranchising artists whose work has been created over many years. He has said,

I'll say this now; if you submit AI art to me in an attempt to get work and I find out, I'll do everything in my power to make sure you're blackballed from the comics industry. There's no room for frauds in this industry

Other artists, including Dave Rapoza and Lois van Baarle, have joined a new protest movement over on the portfolio site ArtStation. This site allows for AI-generated images to be posted to an artist's portfolio, despite the artist not officially being directly involved in the imagery's creation. Rapoza's position is that AI-generated imagery is not itself an issue, but that training the systems using artist work without compensation is a violation of IP law and general ethics.

Some platforms, such as Stability AI, are taking a middle ground approach to the issue, allowing artists to opt out, although that requires that they know about the platform and its usage of their work and take action to prevent the copyright violation.


This is not the end of the debate. In fact, it is just the beginning. AI-generated imagery is a rapidly developing technology and one that needs to be carefully monitored. As AI-generated artwork continues to increase in popularity, it's important for artists, critics, and industry professionals alike to think about the implications of this technology and how we can create ethical standards and regulations around its use. There are many questions that still need answers before AI-generated imagery can truly be considered "art," but it's certainly something worth paying attention to.


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