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Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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There’s no such thing as AI art, just theft from actual artists

Credit: Lexi Tuley

If you search for a picture of a cartoon girl, you don’t even have to scroll before you start seeing images likely generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The elements of the “artwork” usually let you know if something is AI, like weird hands or an inconsistent art style, but these characteristics are becoming less noticeable. 

More companies are using AI images to advertise, and many people post AI images online as original art. This sudden uptake in use has led a lot of people to one question: is AI even art?

According to art teacher Gregg Stevens, the answer is no. Stevens believes that AI lacks the ability to make real art from real emotion.

“Art is an expression of oneself. Until an AI bot can exhibit consciousness and pass the Turing Test, it fails to succeed in the most fundamental element of art,” said Stevens.

The Turing Test is a way to determine whether or not an AI can think like a human. It uses a series ofquestions and has a person analyze the “humanness” of the answers. There are answers from both an AI bot and an actual human mixed in, but the person analyzing them doesn’t know which answers are which. An AI is only considered to have true intelligence if the answers it gives seem organic and are basically indistinguishable from humans.

Human artwork and photos are what fuel AI. The way AI generates its images is by using the internet. Programs like ChatGPT or Craiyon are shown millions of online images and use those to create new images based on whatever the prompt has fed to them. 

If you tell an AI image generator to make you a picture of a cat, it will look at the thousands of cat images in its database and produce an image based on those. This database includes the original work of hundreds of online artists and businesses. In the AI image to the left from Freepik, you can see the big eyes and small nose reminiscent of a Disney character.

When an AI generates an image, it isn’t creating something: it’s taking parts of actual artists’ works and patching them together to make something that appears to be new. 

The generation of a new image is what sparks the debate of whether AI can actually produce art. People are conflicted on whether or not an amalgamation of previous images put together by a computer counts as a new, original art piece.

According to senior artist and writer Charlotte Windsor, AI doesn’t make art – it steals art. 

“Any content put out on the internet is subject to potential scraping for use of AI, meaning artists who share their work on the Internet are at risk of their art being used for AI, whether they want it to or not,” said Windsor.

A lot of students agree that AI-generated images lack the soul or emotion needed to be actual art. AI is a computer, so it doesn’t have any experiences it can draw from when creating.

“What’s considered art is often subjective, but at the very least, when something is created by a human, it was really created from someone’s creative ideas rather than generated by an algorithm that can’t actually think,” said Windsor.

When a person uploads a piece of art online, there’s no box to check that says, “Yes, this image can be used by AI to generate new images.” Yet, the art is often used by AI anyway. You can even request that the AI generate an image in a specific artist’s style, such as the style of Studio Ghibli. The image on the right was generated on Anime Genius, featuring the popular Studio Ghibli character, Totoro.

Images can be generated in the Ghibli style, although artist and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki, has said he’s disgusted by AI.

“I strongly believe that this is an insult to life itself,” said Miyazaki.

If an artist as famous as Miyazaki, who is so strongly against the use of AI in art, can have his art style copied by computers, then what about lesser-known artists on social media who aren’t a part of big corporations like Ghibli or Disney? When these artists post their work online, it’s so they can share something they’re proud of, not so a computer can copy them.

Art isn’t art unless it draws from real human creativity and experiences, and that’s something that AI simply can’t do. Claiming AI art is original art is like copying one paragraph from different essays, pasting them together and then saying you wrote it.

AI can’t come up with its ideas, and it doesn’t draw inspiration from other artists like humans do. It gets fed a prompt and then generates an image based on whatever it sees online with no credit to any artists it may be taking from.

“I consider art as something with meaning, or like a story, because the person who makes art truly puts thought into their work. They take time to brainstorm and execute their ideas. Even if it’s a rough draft or sketch, there’s still a reason as to why they created it themselves,” continued sophomore and artist Evelyn Ramirez-Hernandez, “but compared to AI, there isn’t truly a reason as to why that image is created. There’s no thought process, no meaning. It’s just there.”

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About the Contributor
Lexi Tuley
Lexi Tuley, Graphics Editor
Hello! I'm the graphics editor for Knight Life. This is my second year being on the Knight Life staff and I'm a senior. I love being on Knight Life and getting to write about things for the school and things that interest me. When I'm not working on school stuff or Knight Life I spend my time reading, playing video games, watching tv/ movies and crocheting.
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