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‘A.I. Should Exclude Living Artists From Its Database,’ Says One Painter Whose Works Were Used to Fuel Image Generators




Artificial intelligence (AI)-fueled text-to-image art generators have stimulated lively discussions about the purported end of society’s need for trained visual artists. The technology has already launched a group of amateur artists using artificial intelligence, including Reid Hoffman, founder of recruitment platform LinkedIn. He used the DALL-E platform – and the OpenAI creator’s commercial rights policy – to craft and sell a series of AI-generated artwork on the NFT Magic Eden Marketplace. One sold for $24,000.

Now, well-known artists such as Gregg Rutkowski have been drawn into the debate. The Poland-based digital creator has illustrated fantasy scenes for well-known role-playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons And the Magic: The Gathering. But his art has become so popular that many fans online are now using artificial intelligence to imitate his style.

MIT’s Technology Review reports that the Rutkowski name ranks among the most used vectors in Midjourney and Stable Diffusion, the two open-access AI image generators where users have to enter the Rutkowski name 93,000 times. This is much more than user requests for images similar to the style of Michelangelo or Picasso, whose names have been used as claims no more than 2,000 times each. The Disco Diffusion platform suggests his name as a sample vector.

In an email to Artnet News, Rutkowski said he discovered art made with artificial intelligence only a few months ago. “I’ve seen many of my art friends posting news about her, right before I started getting letters in my name [was] It is used as a router,” he explained. “I wasn’t really interested in AI as a tool to use or experiment with. Somehow, I didn’t consider it a useful tool in my workflow. “

Greg Rutkowski, Harbor Sunrise (2018). Courtesy of the artist.

Initially, Rutkowski saw his new popularity on artificial intelligence platforms as a way for new audiences. But when he did a web search for his name for other reasons, working his style he had no hand in it.

Text-to-image generators scan the web for images that provide algorithms with visual knowledge. Rutkowski’s fantasy-inspired work naturally deals with subjects that fit the purposes of AI – creating scenes that would otherwise be impossible.


But as technology review He noted that AI image-scrapers inadvertently punished Rutkowski for his decision to make his job easier. The artist regularly uses alternate text descriptions when he posts his photos online to make them readable by the visually impaired. But this information makes it easier to search for data, and makes it easier for AI algorithms to understand.

Stability.Ai, the company behind the Stable Diffusion platform, trained their algorithm on the LAION dataset of more than 5 billion image-text associations. The German non-profit organization has excluded images containing watermarks and non-artistic images such as brand logos from its collection. But tech and writer Andy Baio analyzed 12 million images of the dataset for technology review And I found many sites like Pinterest and Fine Art America. Rutkowski’s work may have been crossed out of his ArtStation portfolio.

Despite the fact that its AI runs on a database of images harvested without the permissions of the original creators, Stability.AI’s licensing agreement frees them from responsibility for how their technology is used. AI users must comply with the copyright infringement honor code, but there is no enforcement against rule violators.

Greg Rutkowski, Secret Passage – Eagle’s Nest (2017)

“AI should exclude living artists from its database,” Rutkowski said, and instead “focus on works that are in the public domain.” He adds that “there is a huge financial problem in developing AI from being a non-profit research to a commercial project without asking artists” for permission to use their work.

technology review She cited the plight of Caroline Henderson, who runs the artistic career of her husband, Steve Henderson, a popular commercial artist who paints landscapes and figurative scenes. She has struggled to remove his work’s presence from the Stable Diffusion database, but her requests “have not been acknowledged or responded to,” according to the Technology review. Rutkowski has had a similar experience, even imploring others to contact LAION directly – but has yet to receive any response. “Since no one asked me to use my works in the first place, I had no help but my art friends,” he said.

Artnet News is awaiting comment from LAION as well.

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