AI Image Generators Raise Ethical Concerns For Artists

As artificial intelligence (AI) technology advances, the art industry is grappling with the ethical implications of image generation tools. According to artists, the use of AI to mimic or sample the work of other artists without consent blurs ethical boundaries and raises concerns of copyright infringement.

One such example of AI image generation is the tool Text 2 Dream, developed by the company DeepDream Generator (DDG). The tool can generate images based on prompts given by users, but raises concerns of copyright infringement. DDG CEO, Alexander Chernev, admits that during the initial launch of Text 2 Dream, people tried to generate images of nude children, despite the fact that no such images were present in the training dataset. Chernev notes that AI image generation is currently unregulated, and artists are calling for more regulation in the field.

Artists such as Rob Biddulph and Areeba Syed, argue that AI’s ability to systematically and with forensic accuracy, mimic the style of other artists without their consent, is a violation of their rights. Biddulph states that a human artist is also adding emotion and nuance into the mix, and memory – specifically, its failings.

The industry is calling for better regulation of AI image generation, including opt-in licence-based models. Artists such as Biddulph and Dapo Adeola, who won Illustrator of the Year at the 2022 British book awards, would like to see more regulation and for artists to be properly compensated for the use of their work.