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Modemkiller VS Artificial Intelligence

The last few years have seen the rise of Artificial Intelligence in industries across the globe, hailed as the futuristic precursor to man's liberation from endless toil - but is it really the saviour of the every-day-man that the industry portrays it to be? We don't think so. Modemkiller is against the use of A.I that harnesses stolen content to procedurally generate imagery - or 'art' as some might call it. So, let's dive in and consider why A.I is the new existential threat to artists - both aspiring and established.


An Existential Threat?


If this dramatic title doesn't elicit an emotional response, the next few minutes of reading just might - especially when you learn that how we view art changed forever with the advent of A.I. Generative art is here, and it has come to us in it's multitudes through a growing list of A.I programs. Midjourney, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion to name just a few, typically give users access to the generative tool itself, and a library of generative art created by other users. This imagery is created by inputting a 'prompt' which is A.I lingo for saying 'a description of what you want to see'. Of course, if the imagery you're looking for is only a sentence away, it's irrefutable that it's easily accessible, and it comes faster and in more volume than any human artist could reasonably replicate.


Generative A.I programs and their developers have successfully facilitated for the growth of a low-skill and prompt-based 'creative' community that has saturated online social platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Instagram are awash with a consistently high volume of content for the simple sake of content itself.


Harmless to most, yes, but what this means for artists (both established and aspiring) is that their art is drowned in a sea of unauthentic generated content. What's worse, is that the content isn't always recognised or ascribed as being A.I generated. What's worst is that in some cases, the artist might actually find that the A.I content they are surrounded by is a bastardisation of their own carefully honed style. As the A.I engines themselves are invariably 'trained' by feeding in the art of artists - completely without licence, royalty or permission.


The responsibility for this lies with the owners and investors associated with A.I applications, and the social media platforms that do nothing to protect legitimate content creators and artists. As consumers, we still don't have the ability to filter posts and content created with A.I, and Meta et al appear to be unmoved by the plight of artists across the globe.


"Before:2022"


What does this mean in real terms for people in search of art made by actual artists? During the research phase of development for this iteration of Modemkiller.com, I conducted keyword research and found the depth sadly lacking. Upon exploring the issue directly with the TTRPG community I found that many, when they are between commissioning artworks from legitimate artists, use carefully tweaked google searches. With clever use of the timescale tool, people searching for character art are able to eliminate all images in certain date ranges - specifically anything from before 2022. This essentially puts a blanket filter on 99% of generative imagery, but it also completely severs them from new and exciting art made by real living human beings.


One of the most heart-breaking aspects of this issue is that when people now view art, they aren't experiencing the immediate awe of the piece, and are instead filled with scepticism - first peering at hands, eyes, overlapping garments and patterns to see if genuine human decision-making or blind automation was the driving force behind it.


Simply put; this is sad. The moral difficulty presented by A.I is so far from what it should and could be doing to enrich our lives. A.I should be the tool that releases us from the every-day monotony and lets us embrace our own creativity. Fantasy and sci-fi author Joanna Maciejewska said it best:


"I want AI to do my laundry and dishes so that I can do art and writing, not for AI to do my art and writing so that I can do my laundry and dishes."


Embracing Change


Generally speaking, Modemkiller recognises the technological marvel that is A.I, and will readily admit that the use of large language models (LLM) to proof-read content and develop ideas in my own workplace has become a every-day occurrence. My opinion on the use of LLM and generative A.I diverges, as the nature of the written word is obviously dramatically different from painted imagery. We still have to recognise, though, just how much human input and decision-making matters in the process of any creative endeavour - written or otherwise.


Change Isn't Always Good


Modemkiller.com was created using Wix Studio, the agency scale editor available to web design professionals. As a web designer I believe in the Wix Studio product, which has always been at the forefront of AI implementation. Sadly, however, Wix now grants it's users access to beta A.I generated imagery through an integration with OpenAI. So, I leave you with this A.I generated image for your own enjoyment, or, perhaps, to emphasise my point!


Prompt: "A medieval knight in glinting armour from a fantasy world stalks through the dimly lit corridors of a grand castle. The ceiling and walls are high, and candles decorate the walls, giving the knight an eerie silhouette. The knight carries a short sword in their right hand, and a dagger in their left, and is looking toward the viewer with a dark expression."



As you can see, enough to fool anyone at first glance, but the longer you look, the worse it gets - and at Modemkiller, we're really sick of seeing it!

Support Real Artists


Wherever possible, take the opportunity to support artists in your community. I'm very lucky to have an audience that appreciates my work, so if you're out there, reading this. Perhaps check-in with your local artist for a commission before penning a prompt.


Good luck out there.


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