We Were Forewarned This Was coming, & Other Thoughts

AI art continues to be a source of white hot contention in the art community. With the arrival of ChatGPT, even more fuel and oxidizers are being added to the fire. Corporations now see dollar signs in the smoke and the big players have started moving in.

“Trial for the Future” by M. D. Boncher

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/01/chatgpt-has-investors-drooling-but-can-it-bring-home-the-bacon/

And just as this happens, the lawsuits are beginning.

While Olivio is more hopeful than me on the out come, I can safely say I’m a bit disgusted at the the hyperbole in the lawsuit filing that I’ve seen and heard so far. To me it smacks of ambulance chaser lawyers looking for a big payday, and the three plaintiffs looking for some sort of “jackpot justice”. Both the lawyers and the plantiffs seem to be using each other to profit off of others and cut out some sort of fiefdom for themselves and those who are like-minded allies. Here is why I am less than hopeful:

It’s a long bitter watch, but you can see the philosophical underpinnings to their thinking that is a tad disturbing. Not sure they realize that’s not how the world works. Proko does a good job with it all in being a good host, but his guests… I’d not hire either of them for a commission on a dare because of their attitude, despite their obvious talent.

What rubs me raw about this is thanks to an incident that occurred shortly after Donald Trump became president.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4057004/Artists-tell-Ivanka-Trump-work-walls.html

This taught me a big lesson as an author ultimately. It’s been a bit of a bitter pill, but if you’re going to be a creative of any sort and put your work out in the public and need to be known by the public you want to support your passion, you have to accept this simple fact:

You cannot control who becomes a fan of your work. No matter what you think of them, be grateful for their appreciation of your work.

M.D. Boncher

This is a bitter bromide in my opinion. I’d be horrified to learn someone on par with Kim Jeong Un or Nancy Pelosi was a fan of my books because I stand against just about everything they are for (they may like puppies. I like puppies. Just sayin’ common interests might happen, that’s all). But if suddenly I got a letter saying someone like that really enjoyed my work and they found it provocative, I need to just say thank you, and move on. I have a fan willing to pay for my work, so I can keep doing it.

Even with my artwork, I must come to terms that the instant I put it out for another soul to see, someone will most likely copy it, either directly with their own skill, or with AI art. Perhaps they’ll just be influenced by it, or want to learn by copying my style of doing things. This is what’s been happening for millenia. Heck! This is how the masters taught students to draw. They used to dissect cadavers to learn how to draw muscles properly!

And like I said before, I’ve found my books on pirate websites all over the world selling it or giving it away. On one hand it’s insulting, but what’re you gonna do to shut down a pirate outfit in Camaroon using you for bait? Like they’re going to obey any threatening letter or cease and desist. I have to console myself with realizing that my Akiniwazisaga is able to act as a work of evangelism to people who would never have become paying fans anyway. Those buying it are the ones being hurt because those books are clearly not going to be without malware.

But this lawsuit, it’s just the next version of the PMRC hearings from 1985. I’m fairly certain it will end up just as badly for the plaintiffs. They will become laughing stocks and an embarassing cultural memory.

On a positive note, it WILL end up defining more of what AI can and can’t do when it comes to models. I think the plaintiffs, if they win will also screw themselves over as the models that come out may be forced to use a new definition of public domain work as well as creative commons. If in the process they don’t destroy the “fair use” principle that most of the plaintiffs I can almost guarantee enjoy to create their own works (If you use a photo reference you did not make and pay for from model to equipment to location… you’re using the fair use clause to create derivative/transformative works which ARE permitted), they will be fortunate.

I also worry that the corporations sniffing around to consume all open source software in an effort to own the world are waiting to see the outcome so they can find a loophole to buy up the software on the cheap, incorporate it into their own intellectual property and then do the terrible things at the worst edges of the plaintiff’s fever dreams. Disney is apparently already sniffing around to “help” the plaintiffs. You can’t imagine what a devil’s bargain that will probably be.

So, here we are. About to determine if entitlement junkies and ambulance chasers get a new host for their parasitical desires or if it will all be gobbled up by big data and hidden behind paywalls and corporate interests that then can purge the need for the artists and creatives they once were dependent on? Or will this become a new level of freedom of expression and productivity for creatives?

I dunno, but I’m not quite so hopeful. Then again, I’m no prophet and I’ve been wrong before.

Till next time, vaya con Dios.

“Future Court Observer” by M.D. Boncher
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