DeviantArt launched an AI art generator that appears to have opted-in all of the artwork on DeviantArt’s website. I suspect that the result of this decision will encourage many of the artists on DeviantArt to pull their content off if the site as quickly as they can.
According to Engadget, the website says one of artists’ main concerns about AI is that their work may be used to train artificial intelligence models, which means the generator could spit out pieces in their style without their consent. In an attempt to give artists control over their work, DeviantArt is giving them the ability to choose whether or not the tool can use their style for direct inspiration.
Kotaku reported that DeviantArt is a website that has survived multiple generations of the internet because it does one thing and does it well: it lets artists upload and share their work. That’s it! So it’s both funny and more than a little tragic to see the site try something new last week, only for it to be the worst thing imaginable, implemented in the dumbest way possible.
According to Kotaku, that thing was, of course, AI-generated art, something that sounds cool in theory but which in practice has been little else but a chance for tech goons and grifters to steal art, kid themselves into thinking they’re artists and/or deprive working artists of work.
Also according to Kotaku, DeviantArts’ blog post was ostensibly an introduction to a service that let users “create” their own AI art on DeviantArt, has to spend most of its time saying “actually its fine this isn’t terrible”, because it knew in advance a huge number of users would take one look at the legal and ethical complications involved and say “this is terrible!”
More than one person on Twitter sounded the alarm to let artists know that their DeviantArt work had been automatically opted-in to the DreamUp AI. Some gave instructions about how to opt-out of that.
The comments on the post about DreamUp provide a clear example of why DeviantArt shouldn’t have done this. Comments include:
“u did something dumb people are leaving deviantart because of this”
“Why, why did you want to destroy this website? I saw a lot of people deleting there [sic] gallery only because you steal there [sic] art for your stupid Ai. I hope you going to find a way to fix all the damage you did :( All you did actually, is Killing this website.”
“I can’t belive [sic] Deviantart support ai generated art. I’m desapointed [sic] with you Deviantart team, i really thought you guys cared about artists.”
“Yeah no I’m deleting my account.”
In my opinion, DeviantArt made a huge mistake by automatically opting-in the art created by the artists on their site without the artists’ permission to do so. That was an incredibly stupid thing to do, and I expect DeviantArt to lose the vast majority of the content creators on its site who no longer trust it to protect their artwork.