Font Size
On Artist's Objections to Generative Systems
Category: AI, ML and LDNLS
by Admin on Friday, January 27th, 2023 at 08:05:02

There are very few formally educated artists that aren't exposed to numerous works by other artists during their schooling and during their active careers. Which is another way to say that a great deal of art (by which I mean the creator's sense of art, not the perceiver's sense of art... they're quite distinct) is, and has been, inevitably derivative. This goes for all art: paintings, movies, writing, music, sculpture, etc.

The problem here is that those who consider themselves artists are unhappy that something has come along that can at least somewhat (already, and more so in the future) stand in for the kind of work they do. It's understandable that they are disturbed, but it's buggy whips falling to cars. Inevitable.

Copyright and patents themselves are formally in place in the USA to secure the (eventual) free access of society as a whole to the copyrighted and patented works by rewarding the creator(s) for a limited time. The idea being, if they're rewarded, they'll create. If society can reap these rewards without having to financially encourage human creators, goal accomplished.

From the US constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8:

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

Generative production doesn't mean people will stop creating. Some people create for the specific reward of creation, rather than expecting it to earn them a living. Free software creators are a current example of that most of us here are familiar with. There are many others, for example crochet clubs, graffiti artists and so on. To the extent that they are actually coming up with something new, such creation will, for a time, outstrip generative systems.

Generative machine learning systems are transformative and disruptive. Complaining about it isn't likely to get anyone very far; the tech is already too widespread to stamp out or even regulate effectively. If congress were to restrict its learning away from existing/prior knowledge, that'll only hamstring the corporations, not the public, because we — the non-corporate sector of the public tech community — already have the tech and there's no closing that door.

It's not likely the various legislatures are going to step on the collective corporate toes. They certainly don't seem to do that very often, or very effectively. To the contrary. It's more like the corporations control the legislatures, if we're going to be bluntly honest about it.

Where society needs to go is to a social construct where one does not have to work to exist. Generative systems are a step in the right direction. Robotics are well behind, and good enough LDNLS (much less actual AI) is still far enough off that most of us will still be doing work for pay for a while yet. But the writing's on the wall now. The transition is inevitably going to be difficult. Artists are just the canary in this particular coal mine.

Want to add a comment to this post? Click here to email it to me.

0.04 [Cached]