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AI Art Within the Online Art Community

Previously Published Jan. 5, 2023
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AI art has taken the world by storm. By using AI systems such as DALL-E, anyone can generate an art piece by simply typing in a few words. It makes it incredibly convenient to create a reference image, or simply generate a funny image without spending too much time. But what is the general consensus of the internet, especially the online art community? Well, in short, they really dislike it.
The clearest reason for this would be that artists are afraid of AI art replacing their own work. First and foremost, if someone could simply create a piece of art with an AI, then there would be no need to commission actual artists, which could put their jobs in danger. In September, a piece of AI art won 1st place in a fine arts competition at the Colorado State Fair, sparking controversy. Many artists across social media platforms agreed that the piece was not actually created by the person who submitted it, and therefore the art piece shouldn’t have been accepted into the competition in the first place. The fact that it was accepted, and even won the competition, threatens a future where AI art could completely replace people working in creative fields.
 
The fact that AI art can be used for art theft is another reason why the art community actively disdains it. One of the more significant instances of this occurred in October, when someone used AI in order to finish an artist’s incomplete work, and then proceeded to post it, claiming it to be entirely AI-generated. Even worse, when the artist then finished the work and posted it to social media, the person then accused them of taking inspiration from their AI art and never crediting it. However, since the artist was relatively well-known, and was streaming their work process, people debunked this situation rather quickly, and the account that posted the AI art was soon deleted due to backlash. With the amount of people who have access to the AI art-creating software only increasing, anyone could just put a piece of art through an AI and claim it as their own. As such, now artists will have to be able to prove ownership of their own artwork.
 
In addition, AI uses other artists’ work without their permission in order to train AI models. In order to build a model that can generate images, it first must be given enough images so that it can learn to generate its own. The issue with this is that a lot of these images used by the AI are taken from the internet, mostly without any artists’ permission due to the large number of images needed in order to train the AI. Many artists don’t want their art to be used for AI art, but since art is used by AI models without asking for permission in the first place, they have no way of stopping them.
 
In response to artists’ complaints, many major art platforms such as Newgrounds and Inkblot Art have banned AI-generated art in order to prevent it from overwhelming the sites. However, other art platforms have either done nothing or actively supported AI art, causing some backlash from their communities. For instance, recently on November 9th, a largely used art platform named DeviantArt pushed out an update featuring an AI generator that used art posted to the website. Many artists were infuriated that by default, art would be permitted to be used by the AI generator, meaning that inactive accounts, especially accounts of artists who have passed away, would be unable to prevent their art from being used for the generator’s database. DeviantArt later changed the settings so that art was not opted into the AI’s database by default, but the resentment within the community remained.
 
Overall, the art community definitely dislikes AI art since it promotes art theft and threatens to replace traditional artists down the road. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t benefits of using AI to generate images. They can be used as quick sources of inspiration, and for the fast generation of images with incredibly specific criteria. However, it is very essential for improvement to be implemented regarding its use, and additional ways to detect and prevent art theft before it can become more widespread than before.
 
Sources:
Teoh, Belinda. “Art Made by AI Wins Fine Arts Competition.” Impakter, 13 Sept. 2022, impakter.com/art-made-by-ai-wins-fine-arts-competition/.
 
“Thief Steals Genshin Impact Fan Art Using AI, Demands Credit from Creator.” Kotaku, 13 Oct. 2022, kotaku.com/genshin-impact-fanart-ai-generated-stolen-twitch-1849655704.
 
Edwards, Benj. “Have AI Image Generators Assimilated Your Art? New Tool Lets You Check.” Ars Technica, 15 Sept. 2022, arstechnica.com/information-technology/2022/09/have-ai-image-generators-assimilated-your-art-new-tool-lets-you-check/.
 
Edwards, Benj. “Flooded with AI-Generated Images, Some Art Communities Ban Them Completely.” Ars Technica, 12 Sept. 2022, arstechnica.com/information-technology/2022/09/flooded-with-ai-generated-images-some-art-communities-ban-them-completely/.
 
Whiddington, Richard. “DeviantArt’s New A.I. Generator Angers Artists for Promising—but Failing—to Protect Creator’s Rights.” Artnet News, 15 Nov. 2022, news.artnet.com/art-world/deviantart-dreamup-ai-generator-creators-rights-ip-controversy-2210607. Accessed 18 Nov. 2022.
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