As AI-generated art platforms like DALL-E 2, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion explode in popularity, online communities devoted to sharing human-generated art are forced to make a decision: should AI art be allowed?
On Sunday, popular furry art community Fur Affinity announced that AI-generated art was not allowed because it “lacked artistic merit.” (In July, one AI furry porn generator was uploading one image every 40 seconds before it was banned.) Their new guidelines are very clear:
Content created by artificial intelligence is not allowed on Fur Affinity.
AI and machine learning applications (DALL-E, Craiyon) sample other artists’ work to create content. That content generated can reference hundreds, even thousands of pieces of work from other artists to create derivative images.
Our goal is to support artists and their content. We don’t believe it’s in our community’s best interests to allow AI generated content on the site.
Last year, the 27-year-old art/animation portal Newgrounds banned images made with Artbreeder, a tool for “breeding” GAN-generated art. Late last month, Newgrounds rewrote their guidelines to explicitly disallow images generated by new generation of AI art platforms:
AI-generated art is not allowed in the Art Portal. This includes using tools such as Midjourney, Dall-E, and Craiyon, in addition fractal generators and websites like ArtBreeder, where the user selects two images and they are combined into a new image via machine learning.
There are cases where some use of AI is ok, for example if you are primarily showcasing your character art but use an AI-generated background. In these cases, please note any elements where AI was used so that it is clear to users and moderators.
Tracing and coloring over AI-generated art is something best shared on your blog, as it is much like tracing over someone else’s art.
Bottom line: We want to keep the focus on art made by people and not have the Art Portal flooded with computer-generated art.
It’s not just long-running online communities: InkBlot is a budding art platform funded on Kickstarter in 2021 that went into open beta just this week. They’ve already taken a “no tolerance” policy against AI art, and updating their terms of service to exclude it.
Platforms that haven’t taken a stand are now facing public pressure to clarify their policies.
DeviantArt is one of the most popular online art communities, and increasingly, members are complaining that their feeds are getting flooded with AI-generated art. One of the most popular threads in their forums right now asks the staff to “combat AI art” by limiting daily uploads, either by segregating it under a special category or to ban it entirely.
ArtStation has also been quiet as AI-generated images grow in popularity there. “Trending on ArtStation” is one of the most popular prompts for AI art because of the particular aesthetic and quality of work found there, which nudges the AI to generate work scraped from it, leading to a future ouroboros where AI models will be trained on AI-generated art found there.
However you feel about the ethics of AI art, online art communities are facing a very real problem of scale: AI art can be created orders of magnitude faster than traditional human-made art. A powerful GPU can generate thousands of images an hour, even while you sleep.
Lexica, a search engine that solely indexed images from Stable Diffusion’s beta tests in Discord, has over 10 million images in it. It would take a lifetime to explore everything in it, a corpus made by a relatively small group of beta testers in a few weeks.
Left unchecked, it’s not hard to imagine AI art crowding out illustrations that took days or weeks for someone to make.
To keep their communities active, community admins and moderators will have to decide what to do with AI art: allow it, segregate it, or ban it entirely.