The use of AI art programs have become an issue in the past few months. Frankly, these programs would be a great resource for inspiration and concept art if they were trained differently. But as it stands, these programs are trained using stolen art.

Artists often post their work online, trying to get noticed, to get people to buy their work so they can make a living. These programs use artist’s works without their permission. As of right now, artists don’t have the option to opt out. Further, artists aren’t compensated for the works used, so if someone wants a piece in their style, they could get it without paying the artist.

These programs train on stolen styles and it shows. Artists have been able to recognize specific styles, including their own. Using an artist’s name and some descriptors, someone could generate a piece that looks indistinguishable from the artist’s actual work.

Mangled versions of artist’s signatures show up in many pieces. Some images even have what appears to be a Getty Images watermark. This has led Getty Images to sue in an effort to protect the intellectual property of them and those who contribute to the site.

AI art programs being used by someone to steal art has already happened. Last October, a streamer was making art on their stream. Someone took a screenshot, fed it into an A.I. art program, and posted it. When the original artist posted the finished piece, the thief demanded credit. The thief has since deleted their account due to backlash, but still. Someone was able to steal art using a program that already makes use of stolen art. Of course, what people do with the programs is on them, but these programs have already changed how art can be stolen. This makes it harder for artists to protect their work.

Until the training of AI art programs change to become more ethical and protect the artists it so carelessly steals from, it should be avoided.

  • For the Collegian Editorial Board

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