AI image generative tools are are disrupting traditional art creation and at the center of the arguments whether this is one of the greatest or the worst inventions ever.
The main two arguments are:
Against AI - AI will take previous artists jobs, and will also make money without paying the artists when using their art.
Supporting AI - This tool will help artists achieve better and quicker concepts and results.
Personally I think this is an amazing technology which will enable artists to speed up creation and be able to do things that were not possible before - just like the camera, the print, and photoshop changed industries for the better.
Unfortunately, just like with any new disruptive technology, it will replace some of the manual or technically skilled artists but will enable a new type of creation. Just as CG and 3D enabled new creation processes, new jobs and caused many 2D artists to become 3D artists.
But the main issue that makes this different from all previous technical innovation tools is that these AI tools were trained on skilled artists’ works, claiming it was for research, but are now using it to make money.
The artist Greg Rutkowski, for example, had his name used over 250,000 (!) times within Stability AI and Midjourney to create art inspired by his style, without earning a cent for this.
Of course artists are upset.
Greg uploaded an image on his artstation page asking the AI not to use his images (probably already too late) of course, this will not solve the problem.
Sounds familiar? A very similar thing happened over a decade ago to the music industry.
Music/file sharing P2P companies (such as Napster, Gnutella, and Soulseek) were letting users download and share songs free of charge and caused a big threat to the music industry.
What eventually (and luckily) happened were solutions like Spotify, and Apple iTunes store managed to solved this first by putting “thousands of songs in our pockets” which let users listen to many more songs then they would probably ever would before, and ultimately paying much less than it would to buy all of these before. This also enabled higher quality, better service, licensed content which adheres to copyright laws, and by paying a monthly payment (or a small amount for just a specific song) letting the artists receive royalties.
Luckily for all of us a win-win outcome.
So taking that as a successful example, the changes that need to happen to the Image AI industry are:
1. Getting Artists Permission - The AI companies should ask the artist's permission to use their art (would sort of be like the artist is signing with a label).
2. Paying Artists - AI companies should pay the artists every time a user used the algorithm to create something based on their art.
With NFT and Blockchain, we have extremely precise and accurate data on exactly when, how, and what part of the art is used, and reused. By building a cost/payment system to pay everyone who was involved in the process, creating a win/win solution.
AI tools are not going to disappear, and we don’t want them to.
We need to create a new economic system where artists can continue creating and contributing, getting paid for their work, and helping improve the AI tools so we can all keep creating.
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