Tech

The Ethical Pros and Cons of AI Art Generation


Generating art with AI engines is fun and exciting when you think about how this technology is transforming the art industry, but there are many problems to consider, as well.


Here are the ethical pros and cons of AI art generation to keep in mind when playing around with DALL-E or Midjourney. It’s up to you to decide how careful you want to be with your creations.


The Pros of Using AI Art Generators

There are so many platforms available today that let you create AI images on Android, iOS, and PC. The advantages of such software involve artistic freedom and the evolution of art.

1. Anyone Can Create Art With Artificial Intelligence

You just enter a prompt, and the AI generator delivers images to the best of its capabilities. The clearer and more detailed the prompt, the more interesting the results.

This means that anyone can produce art for their amusement or projects, from character art and surrealist paintings to AI background designs for portrait photography.

If nothing else, you don’t have to depend on expensive and time-consuming professionals to get the job done. Leveling the artistic playing field is a significant ethical advantage.

2. You Don’t Need to Pay a Fortune for Art

Another major perk of being able to generate your own designs with AI generators is that they’re mostly free to use.

Some providers like NightCafé give you five free credits each day. What you can expect from DALL-E, on the other hand, are 50 credits upon sign-up and 15 every month after that.

A human artist can charge a lot for a single commission, so if you’re strapped for money or need more artwork than you can afford, a good AI image generator is an asset.

3. AI Technology Revives Classic Artistic Styles

One of the most inspiring aspects of AI art generation is that the software can learn from old images and breathe new life into classics. You can ask for Van Gogh or Picasso-themed designs, and the generator will respond accordingly with varied results.

The best AI text-to-art generators are those with the most advanced data sets and the ability to accurately interpret prompts, all thanks to their machine learning.

These services produce the most impressive images that mimic old styles and, in a way, pay posthumous homage to classic artists that shaped the modern art world.

The Ethical Downsides of Using AI Art Generators

AI is changing the future of art in amazing ways, but the technology has several flaws to iron out, especially when it comes to its ethical use.

Copyright violation is the biggest problem alongside the ongoing debate on whether AI-generated images are real art at all.

1. AI Generators Learn From Images Without Artists’ Permission

Whether the software uses generative adversarial networks or diffusion models, an AI art generator learns from existing images, videos, text, and so on, all of which come from the internet.

The AI’s developers can just take this data and feed it into their engine without notifying the original owners. Some people end up spotting artworks that look like theirs, but that they never created.

Blatant violation of copyright is only part of the ethical problem with AI art generators. Another is that artists can do nothing to reclaim their property and stop engines from taking more.

Creating art or any other material through artificial intelligence is a very complicated technology and one still in its infancy, so lawmakers don’t quite know what to make of it or how to protect artists’ copyright. Even big brands falling prey to it are reluctant to take action.

Until we can clearly define AI generators’ nature, structure, and boundaries, not to mention what should count as a crime and who to blame, there will be no official safeguards for artists besides what individual platforms set.

The ban of AI art on Newgrounds, for example, specifies that computer-generated images aren’t welcome, but allows the use of AI in small parts of artworks, as long as their creators make a note of these elements so that others are aware.

3. They Don’t Compensate or Give Credit to Artists

What makes AI art even more unethical is that an engine’s developers and users barely consider the original artists, who can’t give permission or take credit or payment for their unwilling contribution to the new image.

While you don’t always know whose art an engine will use when you put in a prompt, some platforms let you choose from specific artists. StarryAI offers Banksy, Greg Rutkowski, and Ilya Kuvshinov among other popular names.

In the Style of Options on StarryAI's Art Generator

Even a vague label can expand your prompt and show who the AI’s inspiration will be. There are no regulations, however, that compel users to give credit where it’s due.

4. Artists Lose Revenue Because People Turn to AI Generators

Besides AI engines and their developers taking advantage of copyrighted art without repercussions, artists also have to compete with free and easy-to-use art-generating software that makes potential customers turn to AI instead of human artists.

It doesn’t matter that it can take several tries to get the artwork you want or that there are security concerns when you share data to create self-portraits on Vana, for example. It’s a cheaper and faster option that artists can’t beat yet.

So, using AI-generated images instead of commissioning an artist for your projects takes business away from them and restricts an already competitive industry so much more.

A fairer strategy could be to only use human artists for official business and leave AI engines for personal fun, but, once again, it all comes down to what you can afford.

Learn the Ethical Uses of AI in Image Generation

Producing art entirely through AI and capitalizing on it without notifying or rewarding the original artists in any way is unethical. In time, there’s no doubt that it will become illegal. That’s why understanding how to use AI art as ethically as possible is important. It’ll stop you from getting into trouble now and when legal measures come into play.

There are already many ways to incorporate AI tools in your work and daily life without compromising your morals or someone else’s copyright, so start exploring what this exciting industry has to offer.

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