Episode 619 - Artificial culture

Jan 23, 2023

Talking about AI again but this time our subject is different: Does it have a negative influence on culture? AI creative tools in the hands of an actual skilled creator opens up amazing possibilities. Real creative people will be able to use them as the tools they are, to mix and match with their own knowledge, talents and many different creative sources to produce novel and interesting things!

Topics and Show Notes

Culture is invigorated by people making novel things, but the way these creative AIs are designed they produce essentially only derivative content. This can be tempered by the human factor of the person using it, especially if they come to it with a lot of background skill and if they don't intend to simply “stop” with the AI produced art but rather intend to use it as part of a larger process. However, because this technology mostly attracts non-creative people most AI produced creative work is not creative (be it writing, video, music, games, or visual art). The commercial pressure to produce the cheapest and quickest products will mean that creative people are largely pushed out of creative jobs and replaced with non-skilled, non-creative people using AI tools, which will have a degrading effect on culture produced in the commercial industry.

That can have a negative impact on culture as a whole, especially as younger people grow up with it as the norm, not knowing anything else.


This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Meatware - Grinding, red, churning, twisting, growling, processing, heavy, liquid, viscous, thick, fibrous, chunky, fatty, sinewy… a heavy electronic sound that gets you deep in your bones.

Topics and shownotes


Tantz's AI newspost on culture - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/jan/20/the-ai-problem/

Adventure thread - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/179254/

Featured comic:
American Pantheon - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/jan/16/featured-comic-american-pantheon/

Featured music:
Meatware - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Meatware/ - by TheJagged, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/

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Episode 605 - Myth of Freedom

Oct 17, 2022

5 likes, 1 comment

“Freedom” is the catch cry in so much historical fiction but it's usually an anachronistic piece of nationalist fantasy. You fought for your lord, for pay, your honour, your small region, etc, not for “Scotland” (i.e. Bravehert). Even today it's generally propaganda: e.g. The Invasion of Iraq being called “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and Russia's invasion of Ukraine being all about “freeing” the Russian speaking areas from “oppression”. We alter historical stories to fit with contemporary ideas about ourselves and to give us some form of foundation for our prejudices, motivations and identity. Good examples are the Arthurian legends, Gladiator, Braveheart, The Patriot, Robin Hood, The stories about Christopher Columbus, The 300, and The Woman King.

Episode 590 - Fave Superhero Movies?

Jul 4, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

I wanted to do an easy and fun one this week and just chat about our fave superhero movies, starting with our firsts! For me and Banes it was Superman with Christopher Reeve. It's a real classic, full of positivity, hope, and optimism, all with bright colours and classic iconic imagery… In that way it's a bit like many of the Marvel films and the more popular DC offerings like Aquaman and WonderWoman, but without the overbuilt and over-defined muscles!

Episode 588 - Revisiting Old Ideas

Jun 20, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Sometimes it's worth revisiting old ideas because you can do them better or explore them deeper. This could be in the form of a full reboot, or it could be as simple as reusing a pose in a panel or using the same theme again like Pixar does with 90% of their output i.e. “coming of age”. Like them you don't need to feel obligated to always do something totally original, revisiting old ideas is a great way to refine them, create better work, or explore different aspects of them you hadn't considered before and put new and interesting spins on things. Consider that Pixar's Turning Red, Encanto, Moana, Coco, The Incredibles 2, Ratatouille, Inside Out, Brave, Onward, and Luca all share the same “coming of age/childhood independence” theme and yet all do it in unique and original ways, exploring different aspects of the idea from all sorts of angles.

Episode 585 - Adaptation

May 30, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Adaptations of one thing into another is an interesting process. What's lost, what's gained, what modifications do you have to do to make it happen? As webcomicers we do it all the time in many ways, we have to adapt our influences into ideas, adapt those to stories, and adapt those to images and comics, which isn't trivial! It's often quite difficult to transform the written word into narrative sequential art- what portion of the writing gets directly turned into images, what's cut, and what becomes dialogue? For me about 20% is cut, 78% becomes art and 2% becomes dialogue or captions.

Episode 572 - Myths of fiction part 2

Feb 28, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Last week we did a thing of the persistent myths of fiction- fictional conventions that we all just accept, and are repeated over and over and even influence real life- for example: that people are blasted back in reaction to being shot. It started as a way of making shooting scenes more dramatic and obvious on film, but became a convention and we all believe it so much that it influences reality- it's part of the famous JFK conspiracy about a “second shooter” because people foolishly think JFK's head rocking “back and to the left” indicated the direction of a gunshot. The kinetic energy of a bullet is imparted to the medium it strikes, typically through heat and destruction when it hits a soft target like a human.

Episode 571 - Myths of fiction

Feb 21, 2022

5 likes, 1 comment

There are so many really silly cliché myths from fiction that we all just tend to accept. They're objectively stupid but they get repeated so often that we don't bat an eye when we see them and we can even start to believe them in reality. I thought it'd be fun to dig into them in a Quackcast. I made a thread in the forum for people to contribute to. Unfortunately we didn't get to many in the Quackcast but there's always time to do another!

Episode 559 - DD Fashion Spotlight

Nov 29, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

Today we're chatting about the NEW news feature that we're doing every Friday: The DD Fashion Spotlight. This is a new way to promote comics without all the restrictions of the featured comic system. To be eligible for a normal Wednesday feature a comic has to have at least 15 pages, be currently updating, not in the top ten, have good writing and artwork, not be adult rated, and not have been featured before. That cuts down the playing field quite a lot but it's what we have to do to make it worth a feature.


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