How Do AI Generators Affect Artists?
Artificial General Intelligence: "When researching AGI, what stuck with me is the idea that it should be able to adapt to an infinite amount of things. It should be able to evolve. With this in mind, I created a ‘centre core’ that represents a newborn AI. The expansion shows its varying specialisations as it evolves, growing in many different directions. The glass material was used for its transparent properties. I wanted each sphere to feel like its own organism/collection of knowledge." Artist: Nidia Dias
Photo by DeepMind on Unsplash

How Do AI Generators Affect Artists?

Jasmyne Jeffery December 17, 2022

Over the last couple of weeks, we have all seen various versions of AI work across the internet. And whilst it’s fun, new and often mind-boggling, we must consider its impact of it on the creative world. So, how do AI generators affect artists?

Recently, people around the world have been captivated by the work of AI. Be it new profile pictures for Instagram, generating scripts from a small prompt, or larger pieces of artwork — it’s all a little bit cool and a little bit freaky.

Unless you’re an artist.

The new technology threatens the work of artists and how much they’ll be in demand. After all, if a machine can replicate or create art just like yours in a manner of minutes, the artist becomes a little bit redundant.

When Did The AI Worry Start?

The discourse started earlier this year after a piece of art won a competition at the Colorado State Fair. Sure, that sounds normal, but the art was actually made by the AI generator, Midjourney. There was then lots of controversy about the win and how it took away from human artists who had put lots of time and effort into their work.

What the State Fair were trying to do was award the technological advancement, but all it really did was create a fear that artists were no longer needed.

Photo by DeepMind on Unsplash

Midjourney works by somebody, anybody, inputting a few words of prompt before the generator creates amazing work using a catalogue of images and a neural network. But if anybody can create work of this kind, work that will win competitions, what need is there to commission an artist to do so?

What’s even worse, is that lots of the bigger AI art generators use databases which contain existing work from artists. So, not only are they making their job redundant, but they’re often stealing their work as well. However, it’s incredibly hard to make any kind of legal case because most of the ai generators will fall under the fair use precedent.

Looking at the US Copyright Office, that means that “Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances.”

How Do AI Generators Affect Artists?

The worry is that this is only the beginning. The technology is still fairly new to us all and so we are all still enjoying the novelty. But at what point should we all become concerned about creativity? Art is already being replicated and created. Scripts are being created to sound like particular writers or people, so it can’t be long until whole books are generated without the need for human creativity whatsoever.

Artists have taken to Twitter to share their frustration at the situation. Although AI work is definitively a technological advancement, it’s taking away something crucially human.

Artists have been protesting AI generators using their work in their network and replacing artistic creativity.

Those arguing that posting work online means that it can be used freely are missing the point completely.

As more and more people use AI generators, more and more artists are fighting against them. Sure, the tool is a fun one-off to see what technology can do. But it can’t ever replace creative people whose livelihoods depend on their talents.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.