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Quackcast 663 - AI and The Duck

Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Nov. 28, 2023

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This Quackcast tackles the issue of AI comics on Drunk Duck. We're discussing either a ban or rules that would enable them to be posted under conditions. We also talk about AI generated imagery and the issues with it and well as its future and the relationship between it and artists. This is a very complicated and much misunderstood subject.

First, there are two main types of generative AI: we'll call them ethical and non ethical. Ethical AI is trained using licensed and copyright free material. Non-ethical AI is trained using stolen material. The benefit of using ethically trained AI like the one Adobe created is that copyright isn't at issue and allows the creation of imagery that can actually be used commercially without problems.

There are many myths about generative AI:

1. It allows a person with no skill to be able to create art:
No it doesn't, it allows them to ask a program to follow a broad guideline to make something that roughly matches text. People have ALWAYS been able to do this by HIRING artists to make images for them. The humans could do a better job of understanding instructions. Generative AI steals jobs from those people.

2. The purpose of free unethically trained generative AI is to democratise the process of creation:
It isn't. The purpose of this type of AI is to increase the share prices of the companies that developed them. The process is exploitative at every level. first it involved the theft of art to train a machine, then it makes low quality imagery for users so that the companies can hype their buzz, get press and become established and popular enough that they increase in value and can be bought for billions.

3. It's fair use, transformative art:
Under copyright these are exceptions that cover normal human use of images, like satire, fan art, collage, sampling etc. These are judged on a case by case basis because they are “exceptions”, but they ONLY cover things a human has done, not a machine, which would be moronic if it did. And they can never cover people taking art without payment or permission and feeding it TO a machine.

4. Just like any new process, photography or digital art etc:
Another instance that's an obvious myth. This isn't a new process because it involves no creative work by the instigator, all you're basically doing is getting an automated free commission. Commissions have been around since the dawn of time, they're not new and there's no issue with them. The issue is that the thing you're commissioning is powered by theft.

5. The same things as sprite comics or fan art:
Wrong again. The use of sprites is covered under fair use but is governed by the copyright holders (Namco, Sega, Nintendo). They can decide at any time to go after sprite art creators either en mass or just the most profitable. They choose not to because it's generally transformative enough and helps with brand awareness. Exactly the same with fanart.

6: It's like an artist using references or taking inspiration:
A thoughtless myth. The generative AI programs with their data-sets are NOT humans, they are machines like a toaster, car or a CNC mill that cuts out aluminium iPhone bodies. Creative imagery performs the function of fuel for these things, its an essential ingredient and they can't work without it.

7: It's Pandora's box. Once it's opened there's no going back:
Pandora's box is a myth that concerns a girl accidentally releasing all the evils into the world from her box and once released there was no turning back. It has no bearing on reality, it's only used as a conceptual tool for describing things but it's actually a fallacy. The Pandora's box fallacy was used extensively back in the early 2000s to describe the issue of rampant piracy of games, music and video. People claimed there was no going back and there would be no way for musicians, game makers, software engineers, or studios to make money anymore, that has proved utterly untrue. The threats to copyright were addressed in many ways: mainly legal recourse and the balkanising of the internet and web-services to isolated systems (Netflix, iTunes, Spotify Facebook, YouTube, etc).
The solution we can foresee is that generative AI systems with illegally trained data-sets will be forced to delete them and retrain them with legally acquired sources. This would cost them a lot of money resulting in users having to pay a fee to take advantage of them, unlike the current free sample model

It's a complex subject and it's not black and white. We will have to think carefully about how a “ban” would even work.
I am in favour of the use of ethical AI engines because that's a simple tool to create low quality, low status commissioned work. An artist should never, ever, use unmodified generative AI work and claim that as their own “art” no mater if the source is ethical or not because it's the same as claiming credit for a commission: that's NOT your work and never will be. However, if they modify it and transform it enough then it will become their work- exactly the same as the use of any sources in every day life. There really is nothing new here.

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme inspired by Jagged Jimmy - A Jazzy, burning rock tune that ramps up and up and up, burning along with a fiery intensity that could melt through several metres of solid granite.

Topics and shownotes


Community discussion here:
Forum thread -
Newspost by Tantz -

Featured comic:
Delos -

Featured music:
Jagged Jimmy - - by TheJagged, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Ozoneocean -
Tantz Aerine -
Banes -

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Ozoneocean at 7:38PM, Nov. 29, 2023

@Lothar - thankyou! The pic expresses an impression of the AI imagery situation, haha! The lines represent the journey towards the singularity, the many fingered weird duck guy represents that strange generic forms created in the worst AI, and the faded blue line version is his "AI" soul XD

Ozoneocean at 7:35PM, Nov. 29, 2023

@IronHorseComics - the system will change... we will adapt.

Ozoneocean at 7:35PM, Nov. 29, 2023

@Jason Moon - that's really ridiculous and niche. I doub't that will last too long.

Ozoneocean at 7:34PM, Nov. 29, 2023

@Irconscarf - haha thankyou

IronHorseComics at 6:29PM, Nov. 29, 2023

We can't leave AI be, because it will never leave real artists alone. It will continue to steal artwork, flood art sites, and impersonate real artists as long as we let it and one day if we let it live, there will be nothing for real artists, real people behind real art. There is no ethical use for AI, period.

Jason Moon at 8:39AM, Nov. 29, 2023

Have you guys seen how modeling agencies are creating AI models because they are sick of real life models and their egos. They there AI female model is making this agency 11k a month. She isn't even a real girl! LOL! Just images in posts and blogs. The world is insane

lothar at 7:48AM, Nov. 29, 2023

Unless it's frontier psychology

Ironscarf at 7:23AM, Nov. 29, 2023

I'm going to listen to this one again because the Ozone rant was just one of many enjoyable and thought provoking highlights! I would argue that sampling is not a good analogy: I get the point being made, but a sample is basically just a section of recorded sound and can be used in unlimited ways. The only reason sample based music is sometimes dull and repetetive is because it allows people with no musical inspiration to shoot their shot. On second thoughts, it's actually a very good analogy!

lothar at 6:57AM, Nov. 29, 2023

I really like the pic for this post

Hapoppo at 8:48PM, Nov. 28, 2023

The more we discuss this, the more I think about it, the more it ticks me off. It's like if I were to steal an expensive item from my job every day and sell it online for bargain bin prices. Doesn't matter that they're not physically removing our own stuff from the internet, using our own art to devalue itself and drive away customers, and then even having forms of monetization on their site to take a percentage of that profit they lost us, might as well be the same thing.

Ozoneocean at 7:42PM, Nov. 28, 2023

@ InkyMoondrop - EXACTLY!! Far, far, faarrr from democratising creation, these auto-commissions simply devalue art and disincentivise people from being creative as well as damaging a valuable low level industry. And once free access is taken away then people will have even less ability to create and be a part of the creative community.

InkyMoondrop at 5:33PM, Nov. 28, 2023

"fools people into believing that's something they'll always have the same level of access to." lol. That reminds me that we live in the digital age. You don't own anything anymore. The movies you watch, the games you play, the music you listen to aren't yours even if you bought them. You're just using a service and your access can be revoked any time.

Ozoneocean at 5:20PM, Nov. 28, 2023

@hushicho - Believe me I've thought on this on ALL angles, I've done my reading and I have decades of experience in the industry, academia, and the fine art world. You're looking at these things very superficially, from the extreme short term and not further than it's presented in the media by proponents. The AI image generators powered by theft only dissempower through the free sample auto-commissions they offer. It's exploitative at every level and it is ONLY large companies that come out ahead here. It's a myth that the little guy receives any benefit here- the free sample art is just temporary crumbs. Fool's gold for idiots, which devalues commercial art, temporarily distorts and damages the industry and fools people into believing that's something they'll always have the same level of access to.

Ozoneocean at 4:18PM, Nov. 28, 2023

@hushicho - you're wrong on all those points I'm afraid. It's a free commission engine, not a tool The one Adobe introduced is a tool for helping you create, the free ones aren't. They're only free till the companies get established, they do not "empower" anyone because it's a comission tool- it works the exact same if they paid an actual artists ecepts its free so it reduces the value of the work and destroys a job for those people- but the free status won't last, People idiotically treat this as a permanent state of affairs, that is NOT the case.

Jason Moon at 2:27PM, Nov. 28, 2023

Please ban the AI comics that are 100% AI. I want to read comics made by real people not by a computer program. I fell in love with this site for the artists and their works. I'm afraid if you allow them the AI will just flood out everything else overtime. Protect human works and taboo auto generated shit. A community of artists not a community of technicians.

hushicho at 1:07PM, Nov. 28, 2023

AI tools are like any other tool, just like the undo function or digital art suites, or 3D cg art -- which also, at the time they were introduced or became popular, were extremely controversial. You don't really get a lot of these issues quite right, and while I do appreciate some benefit of the doubt, it's much more empowering to independent, small-time creators than it is to large corporations. Especially minority creators benefit from the help, which is like having a human assistant, which most professional creators have. You clearly need to look into the topic more.

Jason Moon at 12:53PM, Nov. 28, 2023

You don't improve your own skills by using a tool that creates for you. And it's scary that my creative works can be uploaded and stolen in design from some AI. It's not the same thing but it reminds me of body building. I've spent years lifting weights to tone my body and build muscle at the gym yet there are other ways around the hard work like steroids or implants. Granted, building muscle the hard honest way lasts and makes you stronger and healthy where steroids and implants don't help you improve IN THE LONG RUN.

memo333 at 10:19AM, Nov. 28, 2023

aRT AI is something that is here...we want it or not, like covid19. so...lets just try to leave with it in peace. Im using ai in an ethical way.If someone ask me if I use ai for my manga, I saw an immediate YES, I did. The problem is when people don't admit it. and worst...trick other people and make profit. Now that's what I'm against it. Ai is a tool, not a scamming business.

Hapoppo at 9:33AM, Nov. 28, 2023

(2/2) A computer can't tweak and experiment with a style until it has something that looks "good enough", because "good enough" is an abstract conclusion based on emotions. It can't tell if the pose it's generating looks natural, or that humans don't generally have 7 fingers on each hand; it doesn't have any reference of the human experience, it's just merging and forming data until its algorithms tells it to stop. If it takes ten different reference pictures and merges them together, then does it a second time with the same algorithm, the two results will likely be identical. If you try that with a human, they're going to get a different outcome every time, maybe because they remember it differently, or because they improved their skill set since the last time, or just because they got bored with doing the same thing over again.

Hapoppo at 9:33AM, Nov. 28, 2023

(1/2) Expanding on point #6 here, computers do not, in any way, shape, or form, learn the same way humans do. They're beings of pure logic. The reason this matters is that when we draw, we're not just drawing from our time duplicating a Jack Kirby drawing - we're also drawing from our memories of how real people are structured, how they walk and behave, how certain poses relayed this information or that to us, etc. It's different for everyone, and we all have our own ideas of what makes art look good. My point being, there's a million factors that go into a human drawing that we perhaps don't even think about when we're doing it, because it's part of the human experience. We understand people, we understand how certain places or objects or animals are perceived and generally how they make us feel and we incorporate that into our drawings. By default, everything we draw is transformative to some extent. Computers don't think like that.

mks_monsters at 5:40AM, Nov. 28, 2023

I see the other side of the argument and respect it, but... I'm sorry, call me a stubborn old girl, but I think AI generated images are just for fun and will never ever catch on as true art.

InkyMoondrop at 12:57AM, Nov. 28, 2023

About software Tantz is talking about - I think such are ideal to be the gateway to art for many. Once creative individuals eventually grow out with their development. It's like, you wouldn't hand someone War and Peace as their first book to read if you wanna get them interested in fiction, you'd start with things like Harry Potter or now even less controversial and easier reads. When I create with stock materials and pre-made 3D assets, there are limitations of course, but there's always a desire in me to show myself and others how these things can be utilized in harmony, that some people can create from scratch if they please, but it's not a necessity. Sort of like guerilla film making as opposed to building entire sets from enormous budgets (or in this case from the skills you need years of work to develop) in some dream studio. I was always like this, back in the days, I wanted to create a website where people could collaborate to create music together from what they had to share.

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