The Mainichi Shimbun, a major Japanese news outlet, picked up a story of a Japanese artist in the Kansai region who had her work stolen and changed by AI after she came out against AI-made artwork. The artist’s name was not given.
She made a manga-style drawing of a girl holding art tools in one hand, and her phone in the other. The phone screen has the letters AI crossed out. The girl is sticking her tongue out. The point is pretty clear, but just to be sure, the artist included this note when she put it online: “I do not welcome AI art. The web is flooded with AI that draws upon existing art and synthesizes it.”
To the Mainichi Shimbun, she also emoted, “Art is about expressing your feelings and what you want to say. AI isn’t art; it’s just hashing other people’s work.”
And soon she found her own work being hashed.
Someone alerted her that her picture had been modified and put on a blog, only the picture had been altered so that the no-AI message was gone, the art tools were gone, and the girl had a slightly different look to her. See both art pieces above.
“Who would do that, and why?” the artist wanted to know.
The blog declared that it had put the artist’s work through an AI program and mocked the artist and other human artists, saying, “It’s an image that is thousands of times cuter than the original that would sell well!! Are you rejecting AI, which can turn out ‘pictures that sell?”
The artist tried to do something about this, only for the blog to mock her as “stupid” and “meaningless.” She went to the owners of the blog, who said they were within their rights to use her art because of freedom of expression.
“I feel as if AI has trampled on the skills I’ve cultivated over many years,” the artist remarked.
Eventually that blog disappeared, but the person or people behind it opened another site and reused not only this artist’s work, but took work from other anti-AI artists and spat out new versions through AI.
“I’m going to take everything you lot have,” the new site told artists. “If you don’t like it, quit the internet.”
Source: The Mainichi Shimbun
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.