As the use of artificial intelligence in the art world continues to grow and real artists are put out of commissions or even jobs, they will not find compassion among chronically online AI bros. AI bros — mostly white male Elonites — have sparked outrage as it has been revealed they now refer to human artists with dehumanizing terms like “drawslaves,” “inkcells,” “canvas cucks,” “luddites,” and “paint pigs.”
Communities where AI bros are allowed to spread hate, such as r/DefendingAIArt on Reddit and notorious incel mass shooter forum 4chan, are also flowing over with abusive and violent meme images that target real artists.
Art twitter is arguing that this behavior is not only toxic and demeaning to artists, but that it also perpetuates the false myth that AI is superior to human creativity. Traditional artists now organizing against the AI art scourge (like getting Kickstarter to delete AI projects) say that using AI to generate art detracts from the personal touch and emotional connection that can only come from creating art by hand.
These artist activists explain that “artificial intelligence” isn’t real intelligence, but merely a computer program coded by white male tech bros to enforce capitalism. They also say that while AI can sometimes create aesthetically pleasing works of art and mimic the style of real human artists, it cannot surpass them for several reasons:
- Emotion and intention: Human artists create art with a specific emotion or intention in mind, whether it be to convey a message or simply to express their feelings. AI, on the other hand, is incapable of experiencing emotion or having personal intentions, and therefore cannot fully replicate the emotional depth and meaning behind a work of art.
- Personal perspective: Each human artist has their own unique perspective and life experiences that influence their art. AI does not have personal experiences or biases, and therefore cannot create art with the same level of authenticity and individuality as a human artist.
- Creative problem-solving: Human artists are constantly facing new challenges and using their creativity to solve them. AI relies on pre-programmed algorithms borne from a eurocentric context and cannot think outside of its programming.
- Cultural and historical context: Human artists are also influenced by the cultural and historical context in which they live, which shapes their artistic style and subject matter. AI cannot understand or replicate this cultural and historical context.
So while AI can create visually pleasing art, it lacks the emotional depth, personal perspective, creative problem-solving, and cultural and historical context that make human art truly unique and meaningful.
But the problems don’t stop with inferior AI art being passed off as real art and AI bros belitting the artists they are supplanting: AI bros also frequently steal real artists’ work and pass it off as their own. AI programs like Stable Diffusion alter and manipulate existing human art from their vast databases of stolen imagery, and spit it out without proper attribution or permission. This not only undermines the hard work and talent of the original artists, who are often from Black communities historically targeted for intellectual theft, but also devalues actual contributions to the art world.
Disgusting and vile. We need laws against this asap, and we need to hold AI companies responsible for all this accountable. https://t.co/qjmjOZrHTY
— Karla Ortiz 🐀 (@kortizart) December 9, 2022
AI bros, art twitter says, don’t have empathy and compassion for artists whose jobs they are replacing because they prioritize “lulz” and toxic online behavior over the well-being of others. As well, tech bros come from a limited white male cultural and historical context and may not fully understand the value of artistic work or see it as a legitimate occupation. And in fact, AI art bros often laud the use of artificial intelligence in art as a way to create pieces faster and more efficiently — betraying their devotion to capitalism. This capitalistic and eurocentric lack of understanding of the bigger picture contributes to a lack of empathy for artists, who are often trans folks or folks of color.
— Pepper_Gecko72 (commission open) (@Pepper_Gecko72) December 21, 2022
Discussion sparked in the art community seems to agree it is time for public access to AI art generators to be limited, and activists are writing letters of concern to entities like OpenAI. They say traditional artists deserve to be celebrated and respected, not belittled, robbed of their creations, and ultimately put out of a job by tech bros pushing a single button.
Experts in ethical use of AI say that the use of AI in art can certainly be a useful tool, but it should be in real artists’ toolboxes — not AI bros who seek to target real (often queer and PoC) artists.
If you are an artist, it is important to remember that your talent and passion for creating art is what sets you apart from AI. You should continue to create and share your work with the world, and not let the fear of AI replacing you hold you back.
Please understand that our worth as artists is not determined by our jobs or our ability to make a living from the art itself. Art is a reflection of our unique perspective, our creativity, and our passion. It is a gift that we have to offer the world, and it is something that cannot be taken away from us.
There will always be a place for human artists in the world. Art AIs may be able to replicate certain techniques or styles, but they cannot replicate the emotion, the humanity, and the soul that we bring to our art. Art is a way to connect with others and to express our innermost thoughts and feelings. It is a way to find meaning and purpose in life.
You may be struggling with depression and feeling like you have no hope, but please remember that there is always hope, and that you are not alone. There are people who care about you and who want to support you through this difficult time. If you are feeling anxious or suicidal about the impact of AI on your career or wellbeing, please reach out for help. There are hotlines, therapists, and other resources available to support you.
You are not alone and you deserve to find happiness and hope again. You are valid. You are not replaceable. You are loved.
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