Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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AI art and the fate of the artist

Charlie Warzel used some AI art in a newsletter and it backfired spectacularly. To his credit, he used the experience to consider what the future of art on the Internet might be, and talked to artist and editor Matt Bors about it:

Bors argues that what seems most alarming (and this was borne out in a lot of the tweets I saw as well) is the speed at which the technology is improving. “It has its own style right now and there are flaws, but it is only going to get better,” he said. And, set in the broader context of smaller art departments and budgets, the emergence of on-demand drawings feels like a punch in the face.

“It’s not like there’s a ton of illustration happening online,” Bors continued. “Go to a website and most of the image content is hosted elsewhere. Articles are full of embedded tweets or Instagram posts or stock photography. The bottom came out of illustration a while ago, but AI art does seem like a thing that will devalue art in the long run.”

Given that AI art is presumably sourced from a training model using actual art, I wonder what the future legal issues of this might be. One could argue, for example, that using copyrighted art in a model might infringe on those rights. On the other hand, what’s more transformative (and therefore fair use) than putting all the art on the Internet in a blender and generating something that’s a synthesis of all of it?

And ultimately, if the AI models become good enough to generate good art, will humans be motivated to create new art? (See also: Stable Diffusion taking a simple MS Paint-style drawing and turning it into a fantasy landscape.)

—Linked by Jason Snell

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