AI art generators create fantastic images for everyone’s enjoyment. PHOTO COURTESY OF KAI STACHOWIAK

Shaun Lucas

Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on a computer microchip doubles annually, also related to an annual decrease in the cost of computers. In more general terms, as seen throughout numerous areas in tech, advancements in devices leads to them becoming both more accessible and less expensive. At times, higher accessibility leads to tech getting abused, as we are now seeing with AI generated content. 

Accessibility of art made by artificial intelligence (AI) spread rapidly over the last two years. Right now, you can find a handful of AI art generators, type in a few words, and receive multiple images emulating your search. You want a picture of a swan riding a skateboard without wanting to search through Google to find the real deal? AI art generators make it happen, sometimes at no cost.

AI generation goes beyond just images. Deepfakes artificially replace the faces of other people in videos with another person. Voice AI technology allows you to type out a phrase and have it impersonate a character/person of your choosing. Combine all this tech together and you get a video showing a fake speech where President Joe Biden says he wants the United States military to bring back the draft.

That example was not a hypothetical: for every goofy video of former President Donald Trump ranting about video games is a video that could confuse people into hysteria. An AI-generated video of Biden posted February 27 required an official disclaimer from Twitter themselves explaining that the content was fabricated. 

Around the same time as this video, an AI-animated video by CorridorDigital released a video called “Anime Rock Paper Scissors.” While many people praised the technology as interesting, most people harshly criticized the video as being visually unappealing and having bizarre facial expressions in the characters. Personally, when a followup tweet showed the video was more of a filter on a live-action video rather than a newly generated animation, it lowered my opinion on the process even further. 

“I don’t think it’s ever going to get to the point where we’re not going to be able to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not,” Daniel Silva, Millersville graphic design and marketing dual major, said. “And even then, if the line starts to get blurred later on down the line, we can just make an AI bot to figure out what is human made and what’s not and what’s AI made.”

Unfortunately, as AI detection technology advances, AI tech itself advances. Beyond deepfakes of politicians, other public figures and regular people are susceptible to AI abuse. A recent controversy surrounded Twitch Streamer Brandon “Atrioc” Ewing being caught during a broadcast with a deepfake program that uses pictures of women to create faux pornography using their likenesses.

Another major concern regarding AI art surrounds copyright issues, mainly in how the art depends on pre existing content. As a journalist, attributing AI pictures sounds like a logistical nightmare.

“AI theoretically can be a very useful tool for artists in a perfect world, but we know that companies are going to use it as a way to cut back on jobs and increase their profits by using it to replace concept artists,” Silva said. “Normal graphic designers start doing, like, logos…to an extent, it will replace jobs in the film industry for stuff like animation. So it’s going to suck in the short term because that’s what companies are seeing right now.”

Will there be a world where AI products become comfortably accepted into the world? Perhaps, but I think we should expect products to get slammed online for a little while.