Behind AI art is data – countless images used to train an AI art generator. When a user types in a prompt, the generator disassembles these pre-existing images to produce a new combination of colors and shapes, a questionable new work of art.
AI art generators derive information from what they are exposed to, much like human artists. But there’s a scale difference in how humans go through input, process it, and try to produce something new compared to AI.
When DeviantArt released its AI art generator, DreamUp, there was an immediate backlash from its community about automatically enabling community artwork for use in AI datasets.
Creators should manually unsubscribe to protect their work from future AI image training. The opt-out request, however, would only go into effect after their work had presumably been used to form DreamUp in some capacity.
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DreamUp is an AI art generator that creates prompt-based art, with roots in Stable Diffusion. His ability to create art relies on content pulled from the web, without the advice or permission of the artists who made the work. An artist on Twitter summed up the process well:
Content pulled from DeviantArt and other sources goes into a LAION dataset, which is then processed through machine learning, ultimately resulting in a 3D model. The opt-out request occurs before more machine learning, but does not apply to initial training.
DeviantArt responded to the concerns in an update stating that:
- They will not use art submitted to the DeviantArt community on DreamUp or other AI models or training sets.
- They have not consented to images being taken from the site by third parties.
- To help stop future unauthorized use of art in training AI models, they are rolling out a “noai” flag that will let AI models know that the artist does not want their work used. . This won’t guarantee the artist’s wishes will be honored, but it’s a start.
I tested DreamUp after seeing that DeviantArt had resolved the issues raised by artists. I had to register to use it, and I had five free prompts to use. In the prompt guidelines is the following: “Images inspired by other artists must clearly reference this artist when published.”
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My image was inspired by a dream I had (thanks, subconscious) and my prompt was “A shoe shaped car driving down a highway”. Here are the three images that DreamUp gave me in less than a minute:
Hmmm, I was imagining a different shape, but the bottom image doesn’t bother me.
I don’t feel comfortable crediting myself for these images, as I don’t think I was involved enough in their creation, so I will credit the generator itself.
I also tried a different prompt, “couple riding a rocket through space”, and got the following three new images:
My favorite of the three was the one from the comic:
Finally, I tried a prompt with my little brother’s “Stephen Curry galaxy dragon” favorite things. His favorite of the three was this, although Steph Curry’s number is 30 and I’m sure he doesn’t play for the Goory Boxty Terrors?
These images were inconsistent and had a blended, patchwork quality to them. Still, it was fun to experiment with DreamUp. I see it more as an inspiration for art than a substitute.
The ease with which you can type something into a generator and create an image has led to art communities filled with AI-generated images.
Some communities have completely banned AI art. This is part of a larger debate about what gives value to art and how AI fits into the puzzle.
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Should it be a problem that countless artwork data points are used to train an AI that spits out art in under a minute, art that wins competitions at that?
The amount of art you can create with AI dwarfs in sheer volume the single piece of human-made artwork that requires hours of thought and labor. I think this could lead to a few results:
- AI art is used more as a source of inspiration than an end result in the human creative process.
- Art lovers are prioritizing works “handmade” by humans over AI-generated pieces, more to the assembly line.
- Other creative industries, like music and writing, eventually develop their own versions of generators.
The potential of AI art generators is vast, as are the possible consequences.
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