AI art requires regulation before major problems arise

By Mikayla Silcox

Elm Staff Writer

Since the 2015 creation of DreamDeep by Google, artificial intelligence artwork has become more present on social media. According to Statistica, there are over 20 AI art websites that allow users to take art into their hands with a simple concept and blurb of text.

In 2018, Christie’s auction house sold an AI art piece “Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy,” for $432,500: an early indication toward how people would continue to regard AI art with the same status of physical art.

Artificial intelligence art is a cheap way for content creators and businesses to produce content without having to commission or credit artists for designs like thumbnails.

The artificial intelligence system takes from collective works of living and dead artists, so some artists are not even aware of the theft of their works.

Artificial intelligence art is not comparable to human-made art, backed with stories and emotions, but the real threat is the lack of compensation towards ill-credited artists.

Communication and Media Studies Professor Stephanie Brown noted that artists already struggle with making money in their industry, so to further take from that may restrict careers.

“We also have defunded arts to the point that artists have very few resources or opportunities to create” Professor Brown said.

AI creations are uncanny in multiple ways, and hopefully this realization will soon start to discredit this technology as art.

Usually, AI art takes from preexisting art, meaning a chunk of the art derives from historical and Eurocentric paintings. While the pieces may come off as unique, it lacks any diversity.

Luckily for artists, AI art lacks knowledge and emotion, incomparable to human creations.

“There’s a reason AI tends to generate emotionless faces and messed up hands – they’re the most expressive parts of the body, so of course those are the results a robot unfamiliar with the complexity of faces/hands are going to produce,” senior and digital artist Amara Sorosiak said.

AI art has the potential to overshadow creative careers. However, through some reformation of giving credit to inspired artists where due and training AI to latch onto more diverse pieces for inspiration, it could serve as a useful tool for creative endeavors.

“Seeing AI art as a potential tool in this way, drawing directly from an individual’s personal style to speed up and help the artistic process, makes it useful and meaningful enough to fight for its continuation,” sophomore and art major Rebekah McCreary said.

McCreary sees AI art as not something to fight, but embrace and use intentionally. She said that AI art could help creative minds – for example, small creators of comic stories who cannot afford the full extent of time and labor attributed to their craft.

Like Sorosiak, McCreary feels that human-made, storytelling, and emotional art is irreplaceable, and while the impending threat of technology may seem dire, there is no real need to fear for the future of art.

“Rather than hating on the technology or the people behind it, we need to recognize that it’s a powerful tool and use it for good so we can all move forward,” game designer Jason Allen said in a CNN article.

AI art needs regulations and control to aid the artists that the work is inspired by, but other than that concern, AI art is not the beginning of the end of creative human expression.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo Caption: Artificial intelligence (AI) art sometimes attempts to replicate the style of famous artists; for example, this AI portrait of Italian actress Ornella Muti mirrors Raphael’s style.

2 thoughts on “AI art requires regulation before major problems arise

  1. The article does a good job of examining the potential risks of AI-created art, but raises more questions than it answers. It would be helpful if the author addressed the following questions: 1. How do we define “art”? 2. Who gets to decide what is “good” art? 3. What are the potential risks of AI-created art? 4. How can we regulate AI-created art?

    1. I think this is fairly direct. Art is an expression of the human experience, regardless of medium. An AI may be able to mimic the voices of VO Actors, replicate faces on screen, or emulate brush strokes. But it will always lack the human experience and emotion that rendered that performance, song, or artwork.

      The discussion of whether or not AI art is “good” is largely pointless, as I’d posit that AI work is not art to being with, for the above reasons. But I’ll also admit that is a subjective take, just like any opinion on art will be.

      The risks are numerous, companies in the VO community are beginning to sneak AI clauses into contracts, that allow them to “own” the digital reproduction of an actors voice, allowing a company to sue a voice-actor for using their own voice in future projects. The article already raises concerns with un-credited artists not being properly recognized or compensated for their work being pulled from.

      As to regulation, that’s a slippery slope, I’ll concede. I’m a hard-liner who believes by and large that AI does not belong in art, period. Then again I’m an artist, so I’ll acknowledge a bias there. But I do think that if companies want to use artists work, there needs to be safety nets for artists to A: be “allowed” to continue using their own voice or style without fear of reprisal from a company that has done no work, and B: pays those artists a residual for how often their projects are used. If a company is making money off of any artists work, that artist deserves just payment.

      AI has great potential in many industries, but I genuinely fear for the arts if humanity allows these programs to be used unfettered. That would create a soulless future, and also damages a lot of peoples livelihoods.

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