AI Generated Art: A Discussion In Art Ethics

Hi guys, I want to discuss the morality of using commissioned art into AI generator without the artist’s knowledge.

I think this could be a great starter to let artists, authors, readers, and whoever else share their thoughts so this can become a more known topic in the IF community.

QUESTIONS FOR THE ARTISTS

  1. What if someone uses a commissioned art piece they’d paid for and uploads it into an AI art generator as a seed?

  2. Would you like to know before starting if this is something they would do?

  3. Would you disallow it as part of terms and conditions before drawing?

  4. Would you have strict rules? Like no putting the art you made for them into an engine that will keep the art as a reference once set as a seed? Or only allow the art to be seeded into an engine that throws away the seeded art piece after use?

  5. Would you charge more for the permission to do this?

There’s actually a lot of questions arising from this as I think about it. It could even become a job in the future! “Seed artist for hire”
FOR AUTHORS
Ima throw a curveball at yall, lmao

  1. Have you heard of AI story generators?

  2. What do you think about this emerging new factor?

  3. Do you threatened by this? Or do you feel unworried?

  4. Now returning to the AI generated art. Would you use it? How would you use it? I think a number of us already use Artbreeder, and if you didn’t know; Artbreeder is an artificial intelligence (AI ) portrait and landscape image creation tool.

  5. Would you commission artists with the intention of having them make a reference image to use for AI generation art?

For the readers

  1. Did you guys know this was a thing?

  2. How often do you use AI art generators?

  3. Do you think the Interactive Fiction industry and community will be changed by this? Think Tumblr, Discord, and other social media. Will this be more of a topic going forward as AI-generated art becomes more popular?

  4. How would you feel if CoG decided to use AI art?

  5. Do you think AI generated art is going to be more beneficial or harmful to your reading experience? In more focus, would you be okay with it if it helps create more art in your games, or do you rather want to use your imagination?

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as an artist (and to an extent a writer):
i think it’s an interesting exercise but it should not replace the work of actual artists.
i would not be okay with having my work, commissioned or otherwise used as a “seed”.
so a yes to question 3, which i feel answers the rest of them. i would disallow it entirely.

getting work as an artist is already volatile enough, and i really have a difficult time justifying using AI-generated art.

i get the use of art breeder portraits, to an extend, but generally ignore them when used. a little too uncanny valley half the time.

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I love playing around with Craiyon (formerly known as Dall-E Mini), an AI art generator that draws on what’s out there on the Internet, rather than my having to provide a “seed.” My profile pic was generated by this tool, as was the pic that appeared beside my author blurb in the September issue of ChoiceBeat. (My blurb pic in the June issue is my actual face.) I probably have thousands of images in my phone storage that I’ve generated this way. Sometimes the prompts I use are inspired by a game I’m playing, like trying to create an image of my character - although it’s more about creating a stylized image that captures a certain feel than trying to create a plausible portrait.

I think it would actually be really cool if a Hosted Games author used Craiyon or a similar tool to create art for their game, but it feels like something that would be weird to do for a game you didn’t write (with the expectation it would actually be used, I mean, rather than just playing around as I do).

The art in a game isn’t going to have a big impact on me one way or another, because I’m not a highly visual person and I don’t really picture what I read the way most people do. If AI art were going to be used, I would prefer something highly stylized or semi-abstract rather than an attempt at a realistic portrait.

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I have been using it for a while to give life to my characters and the world. And it’s great. For someone who lives in a country with shit currency and cannot commission art due to that one piece could cost an entire mouth pay, I had no choice but to use it, and I’m sure a lot of authors who face the same problem could benefit from it.

I have been following the technology for a while, and I think with time, anyone would be able to generate art with ease.

Some of the ones I made that would have bankrupted me If I had commissioned them.

Also, I sometimes send them to an artist to improve them rather than commissioning them from the beginning, and that would cost me a lot less.

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Author questions:

  1. Yes. Never used them however.

  2. Similar to how I see AI art generators, which is primarily as a tool. It’s effectiveness will greatly depend on the skill of whoever uses it, even more so with story generation because AI itself will struggle to create consistent plots and structure things like arcs, characters etc. That is primarily due to how modern artificial neural networks operate.

  3. Not anymore than I feel threatened by any other writer.

  4. I already use it. Primarily for concept art like maps, initial portraits for characters and a different take on mood boards. I recently moved to playing around with making banners as well, but that usually involves a lot of work in photoshop after generating to tweak the AI generated image.

  5. No

Reader questions:

  1. A few times a month.

  2. Industry as a whole I doubt. Community might, but such a thing always happens when a new tool that offers a much different way of approaching certain things emerges.

  3. This feels like more of an artist question. Personally I do not mind.

  4. I’m on the boat of “no art in IF books” since I much prefer the imagination route. Regardless of whether they are hand drawn or AI generated.

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  1. Did you guys know this was a thing?

Yes. I commission a lot of art (my current pfp is commissioned) and I’m generally in the art Twitter bubble. I see the discourse.

  1. How often do you use AI art generators?

Never. Well, artbreeder for a while, if you wanna count that. As far as I know it works with stock photos as a base, and if you use it long enough, you begin to recognize the similar traits in the output. Sure, you can add your own images, even stolen ones, and that’s definitely unethical, but I don’t see artbreeder images ever replacing real artists in the way AI art threatens to / already does, for multiple reasons. But back when I used it, I was generally more naive about the whole issue.

  1. Do you think the Interactive Fiction industry and community will be changed by this? Think Tumblr, Discord, and other social media. Will this be more of a topic going forward as AI-generated art becomes more popular?

Yes. There will probably be authors who will use AI art to portray their characters (maybe not officially in their games, but on social media), as well as readers, and there will be those who will shun them for it, and the other side who doesn’t see a problem with it.

  1. How would you feel if CoG decided to use AI art?

Boycott.

  1. Do you think AI generated art is going to be more beneficial or harmful to your reading experience? In more focus, would you be okay with it if it helps create more art in your games, or do you rather want to use your imagination?

Harmful, but that has nothing to do with it being AI. I just generally prefer using my imagination for ROs etc.

Having said all that, I’m not against AI art per se, just the way artists have been screwed over without their consent.

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Considering how anything is usually misused, I would say: NOPE! Thank you! Pass!

That’s the short answer, now for the explanation as to why:

If someone does that, the art piece belong to them correct? Then, whatever. Put your underwear as a Seed in a blunder…no worrie.

Nope. Once someone make you art in exchange of Money? the art belong to the customer.

That’s always a good practise. Because, one art can be used in different ways. Like say, Bad ways too.

Anyone remember that story about that kid Gutenberg?

Usually a big fat No is enough. But sure, spell it and make it long. Hardly anyone read those lol

Artist should yes.

In passing only. Never saw one.

Way to encourage Lazyness!

Society at large should be worried, but considering how everything is going to hell? I just tune everything out.

I tried Artbreeder to see what it could do.

Some stuff were Amazing!

But then I though ‘Yay! More tools to help peoples feed that shallowness inside of them’…

Promoting lazyness isn’t a good thing. It’s bad m’kay?

It’s like, parents work their ass off teaching kids to read, write and walk and talk.

Then here, come adult hood, and you have some Yahoo idiot telling them ‘Forget all that neandertal stuff they taught you! We can make your life Easy man! Just push a button!’

I love Technology. But Technology is supposed to help you Improve. To ascend to a higher level. Not drag you back to a state where everything is easy and without efforts.

No efforts, no experiences, no learning.

If life was supposed to be like that, we would’ve found out about it ages ago.

Nothing is easy in life. And there is a reason for that: EXPERIENCE!

Experience teach you many things that the easy way just doesn’t.

Technology is the answer to many things, but we can look toward videos games where we can see it’s already failing. We have better computer, faster internet, better graphic…and guess what took a seat back? IMAGINATION! WRITING! adding DEPTH!

How is that a good thing?

Doesn’t mean that kind of technology cannot be beneficial, it can. If it is used well and in a manner that enhance and promote one self to higher level of learning.

But considering the state of the world…? plz. It’s doom and Gloom lol

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I’ve actually been playing with the idea of trying out an AI story generator to give me some story prompts, but haven’t gotten around to it. (I’m still in love with the one opening line grneration result though, “Perth had been without oxygen for three months.” I’d actually read that story.)

I also use AI image generators at times… to generate myself some reference pictures. (Although that mostly consists of services that generate random persons who presumably don’t exist.) I don’t use them as-is in the end product, though.

If someone was commissioning me a drawing (a fever dream as of itself), and then used it as a seed, I would, indeed, be very annoyed. I might give them permission if asked beforehand in exchange of higher price, though. Might.

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Wow, those are amazing, better than anything I’ve seen from an AI before. Most of what I’ve seen was either Craiyon quality or soulless, but I love those pictures.

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For the artist section, I can’t speak for since I am not one. But being on the Intrnet, I feel compelled to express my opinion about things that don’t affect me.

The state that art generators are now, they can at most be used for placeholders. So if I were an artist, I would not feel threated by them. However, I would like to have autonomy over my art and have the right to choose to deny use of them as seeds, but more from a “recommendation” perspective. If someone sees an ai modified version of my art, they might not consider hiring me because the AI distorted the nostrils or something and might think that the generated art is the original.

Now for the (wanna-be) author questions

Yes.

The stories generated by AI are unintentionally hilarious. It uses a lot of quirky expressions that no human would use.

I’m worried that they will improve it and the stories won’t be as funny as they are now.

I’ve used it in the past for placeholders, but it’s certainly not ideal. Artbreeder has a lot of generic full-frontal portraits, if that’s what you need, you are good to go (just for placeholders). But if you want something more niche, like a Jojo-style woman riding a horse decapitating a zombie, then you are out of luck. The more nuance you need in your art, the less useful generators are. If all of your seeds are Disney princesses, and you need a demented villainess with crazy eyes, you will never obtain her, no matter how many parameters you tweak.

Absolutely not, I just ask them to draw my bizarre characters if I’m already paying for it. Generated art will never be as good as hand crafted ones.

As a more general answer when it comes to AI, it performs really really well if it has a specific task to accomplish and a lot of data to iterate on. For example: beating a game. You just tell the AI the objective of the game and let it play billions of games against itself until it brute forces the best solution.

But with art, your objective should be (hopefully) to create something that hasn’t been seen before. This requires a lot of nuance understanding and experimenting on stuff that you don’t have many tangible data points, which reduces the efficiency of AI significantly.

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As a readers standpoint I enjoy AI art but I also know it’s nothing that should be profited off of.

I use an AI art generator often just for my own enjoyment and I don’t share the art created since I don’t know the entire legality around them nor do I want to say its my art because I technically feel that it’s not.

Do I feel the interactive community would be changed by this? Maybe? I don’t have enough data to say yes or no. I personally don’t know enough people who use AI generator.

I personally feel that AI art on Hosted Games would be helpful in some cases with those who need images to look at to understand dense writing or use AI art to give ideas for scenes in their books.

I hope this helps, I’m a little new to the AI art world~

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No it doesn’t. Artist has right to say what the customer is allowed to do with it. If you get it with blanket permission of “do what you want”, then sure, but the artist has every right to say “this can be used only for this one specific purpose”.

Real-world example: I made a small illustration for a hobby magazine I volunteer in. Every time someone wants to use that illustration in some other context, they come to ask me if I allow it (and I have every right to say no, if I so decide).

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thank you for your response, i believe that is a valid and very concerning effect AI generators may have for artists.

Thank you for responding! Never heard of Craiyon before, and your ending remark intrigued me a bit. The person i quoted above also didn’t want realistic art!

Sup Fat Cat, thank you for your response! Your answer is a great point of perspective that had to be said. I can totally see AI Generated Art as a great way to have art for people of weaker currencies.

I really like this, and this sounds like a nice compromise for the opposing sides to come around and discuss further on. Also your characters look great!! Which ones were touched with an artist’s hands for the final look? All of them? What did they change in specific?

Thanks for replying! I’ve seen the city map you made for the wip you’re working on, and loved it. Since you appear pro-ai, would or will you be using ai art in your game? I remember you telling me the art was for your eyes only and as a point of reference. Or will your “no art in IF books” stop the implementation of art of all kinds in your game?

Took a look at your pfp, it looks lovely!!!

You know, you bring something up that id like to highlight, there’s people who think that since they paid for it, they have authority over how to use it, including using their commissioned art as a seed for an ai generator. Which brings me to my next question for you

Do you think AI generators should be shut down with legislation? If not, whatre some ways you think artists could defend themselves? Contracts? Clear set terms and conditions for the commission?

Thanks for responding! The fear is that the art generator would then use the artists style as part of it’s library to make new pieces of art, possibly infringing on the artist’s style without compensation and the like.

And this is where the side that likes AI will say and point to, whereas the side that dislikes AI will reply with the endangerment of job security. Or that the artist is just getting screwed over even more.

Yo! Thanks for replying! AI story generators can be used for prompts to spitball ideas to fuel your imagination! I think I also would be annoyed if someone used the art i made as a seed without permission.

Thats a hilarious reply to the question lmaooooo, also thanks for replying!!

You bring up a good point, now what about landscape art? I think that’s something that could help. Pay an artist to make a basic landscape drawing, plug it in and seed it, then look for the best one that fits your story! But then again, that’s a very niche idea lol

It did help, welcome and thank you for replying! Your comment was honest and sounds very similar to what other readers would feel in the matter i think

Thanks for sharing that, i think that’s a great policy to have that respects the artists!

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You would still need thousands of landscape art in the same style to seed this. Otherwise, when you move a slider, you would just end up with eldritch eyes in hills, or skirts on trees.

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You know, I’d actually want an eldritch landscape generator.

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That’s not cool dude.

This is bad a excuse, like the same one the people who pirate movies/games/books uses.

Not only that, but it’s a huge disrespect for the work, dedication and effort put into doing those pieces.

Like, I’m sorry you are in that situation, but that’s no excuse to justify such acts.

People need to start being mindful of artists, by valuing the effort they go trough, and the dedication they have for their work.

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I have; used one to brainstorm once and although the prompt it arrived to wasnt mind-blowing, it was an interesting exercise.

I think it’s cool: anything that makes my creative juices flow is a win in my book.

AIs work by recreating the “aesthetic” of a piece of art, or the tone of a written piece. They don’t know why something works, or how to create something new and exciting from whatever prompt you input. It’s too painted by numbers for me to feel worried about computers replacing writers any time soon.

I use nightcafe to brainstorm scenes for my new game because it’s super hard for me to picture things in my mind and so it makes describing landscapes, rooms, and clothing a hassle. I can just input “shaman dancing in the snow wearing neon furs”, take a look at whatever the AI spits out, and have a better idea of what about the scene draws the eye and piques my interest the most.

I’ve used artbreeder in the past, but got tired of the arian anime face base every portrait seemed to share pretty quick so I would breed them with those popovy sisters dolls to screw up the proportions :nerd:

Nooo, I think it’s unethical (also adding extra unnecessary steps)

Tl;dr: AI is good as a brainstorming tool and/or making mood boards, it shouldn’t replace the work of actual artists.

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I’m not an artist, so for questions of ethics I’d defer to their opinions (though obviously no group is a monolith). But if I wanted artwork based on my stuff, I’d commission an artist to make it. I would want to pay artists for their work.

I’m not a big fan of Artbreeder pictures in general; at worst they look uncanny, samey and lacking personality to me. The better ones are where someone has done a lot of edits to them, but then if you’re having to make that amount of effort wouldn’t it be better to commission an artist?

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This is a great conversation to have. While many would agree that AI is something inevitable, I think many are uneasy to see it advance “so far and so quickly”. The reality is, machine learning algorithms have been used by every major industry and tech company for decades.

Whether it’s making high-frequency trades on the stock market or generating the beat and lyrics to the next major pop song, these tools have existed for a long time. It’s only recently with Stable Diffusion and other text-to-image algorithms that we (the public) have been able to mess around with it ourselves.

I can see a future where all “asset creation” from writing, to images, to animation, to voice overs, to even game design are all done by AI, and all done better than a group of humans could ever do. The modern creator would be more like a director who stiches together several algorithms and fine tunes them as they see fit.

As our world is today, the release of all these algorithms into the public domain would cause absolute chaos. These are modern day magic spells, that pull creations out of thin air by muttering a simple phrase. Widespread job loss and misery would occur, and these are all things known and even projected by governments and agencies across the world.

I’m much more optimistic than most about the future. As tough as it is, consider a post-scarcity world where the idea of making art for anything other than personal enjoyment and sense of achievement is unheard of. Just think of what mankind would create in that weird, foreign world!

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I’m not stealing or doing something illegal, am I? I understand what the artists are feeling, and they are right and deserve every penny, but at the same time, I’m using software that will continue to develop even If I don’t use it.

Calling it like I’m pirating movies or games/books is simply not true at all.

If I could have afforded to support artists, then I wouldn’t have even known about the AI or cared to know. I make about 120$ a month, and a simple art would cost about 80$ or 100$ or more.

I hope one day when I have a good job that I can finally commission art. Which is what I always wanted to do from the start.

Even the local artists wanted $ instead of our currency? In which I don’t blame them, as why would you waste time when you could make 20 times the profit online?

My sister wanted an oil painting of her but was shocked by the prices and couldn’t afford it, so I used her photo and made it for her using the AI.

The lady with the green. Will send the others later that year. She improved her eyes and face. She also removed unwanted stuff that was flying in the background and added the green necklace.

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