Episode 663 - AI and The Duck

Nov 27, 2023

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.

Topics and Show Notes

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 - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/179525/
Newspost by Tantz - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/nov/24/ai-comics-and-dd/

Featured comic:
Delos - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/nov/21/featured-comic-delos/

Featured music:
Jagged Jimmy - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Jagged_Jimmy/ - by TheJagged, rated M.

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

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6 likes, 2 comments

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1 like, 4 comments

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Episode 660 - The Multiverse

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2 likes, 0 comments

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Oct 30, 2023

5 likes, 2 comments

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2 likes, 2 comments

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4 likes, 0 comments

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4 likes, 0 comments

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