Thursday, December 15, 2022

Resources for Artists Against Unethical AI Development

Who knew that 2022 would be the year artists would be having the discussion of whether or not they would be replaced by Artificial Intelligence?  But here we are in a very normal looking dystopian future!  Rather than re-hash what other more eloquent folks who have already stated, I wanted to put together this article to gather educational resources and advocacy efforts that I hope will be helpful to the art community.  I'll try to keep it updated as and when I can.  Feel free to suggest more resources in the comments!

Image Source: Pixabay
TL;DR for the folks who don't already know.  AI image generators like Stable Diffusion, MidJourney, Dall-E, and others have trained their technology on data that has been scraped from copyrighted sources without the permission of the owners of those images, including not only artists, but even the medical records of unwitting individuals as well.  To make matter worse, this tech was irresponsibly proliferated via Open Source code before regulation was even considered for its potential for copyright abuse.

We should not promote and condone any positive uses of this tech until the unethical side of it is regulated first, no matter what its helpful potential might be.  It is too harmful to the rights of creators and the creative field, in general, until regulation occurs.  Whether ethical or not, this tech was created to replace the need for artists and that will change how art and professional industries evolve over the next few years, for better or for worse.

And now on to the resource links!

For General Education

  • The Unethical Origins of AI - A thorough and well-researched thread on the unethical elements of AI generation with a breakdown of common defenses of the tech and accompanying explanations.  Complete with links to further research. (Facebook mirror link of this thread in case Twitter goes down).

  • Why AI Models are not inspired like humans. - An article by Karla Ortiz, a respected artist in the entertainment and illustration industry who has done her homework on this tech and also links to outside experts in the field.  This article explains an important distinction between how artists and machines learn, a common defense in letting AI tech go unchecked.

  • Invasive Diffusion: How one unwilling illustrator found herself turned into an AI model - An article discussing how an artist was targeted for her popular style and a model built on her art, which was then released for Open Source use, causing direct harm to the artist's livelihood and brand recognition.  It also discusses the potential for fraud and security issues with AI's power to simulate convincing photos of anyone after training on just a handful of photos of one's face.

  • The Future of AI Art and Automation in Creative Industries (Added 2/23/2023) - Written by prolific commercial photographer, Jingna Zhang, this article discusses the current and future uses of AI in the creative industries, what trends we can expect in job losses, and more considering this comes from someone extremely active in many branches of the creative community.  Zhang is also the founder of, an ArtStation replacement that is committed to ethical use of AI.