Against AI “art”
Like most illustrators, I’ve been horrified by the rise of AI image generators, like Dall-e, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion. These systems are trained on billions of images obtained without the knowledge, compensation, or consent of their creators, and churn out passable-looking images in seconds, for pennies or for free. Since they are faster and cheaper than any human illustrator can be, these generators threaten to destroy the industry that I have devoted my life to. Worse, they are using our own stolen images against us. My work, like that of many other illustrators, is stored in the LAION-5B database, which billion-dollar corporation Stability AI uses to train their generator. Even more alarmingly, DALL-E, owned by multi-billion dollar Open AI, can create ersatz versions of my work if you type “drawn in the style of Molly Crabapple.”
One might argue that the rise of AI image generators is only a problem for illustrators like me. But what about you, editor, art director, or publisher? Why should you forgo something so convenient? Sure, generative AI threatens mass unemployment for millions of people, far beyond the illustration field, but appeals to ethics and solidarity won’t stop you from using it any more than it stopped you from using Amazon or Uber or AirBnB. You need stronger stuff.
Well, here are some reasons why you should avoid using AI art generators, even if the future of illustrators does not concern you in the slightest.
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