Skip to main content

The AI world has been causing quite a stir lately. Whether it’s AI voice actors, deep-faked videos, or procedurally generated art, it’s a big topic, and creatives are concerned about their jobs being done by an iterative, unfeeling machine, and for good reason.

Any creative trying to make a living from their chosen profession likely already knows that most people hiring creatives don’t value their input. Everyone needs artists, but for some reason people think artists will work for free, as they enjoy making art. Big mistake, buddy. Everyone needs to eat.

And that brings us to Artstation, a company owned by Epic Games, that acts as a resource for artists to connect to video game developers and publishers. As an artist, having your portfolio on Artstation makes you more visible.

But it was recently discovered that all artworks uploaded to Artstation have opted-in to AI training by default.

In a long series of Twitter discussions, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney stated ‘We’re not locking AI out by default, because that would turn Epic into a “You can’t make AI” gatekeeper by default, and prohibit uses that would fall under copyright law’s fair use rules.’

In a follow-up tweet, Tim Sweeney argues that making artworks opt-out of AI training by default would be, somehow, unfair on AI programmers, as opposed to the thousands of digital artists that fear their livelihood will be pulled out from under them.

Sweeney’s tweets show just one side of a nuanced argument, and he appears to happily dismiss concerns brought up by artists in replies.

Currently AI art is only possible by having that AI analyze thousands of different artworks and their tags in order to create something cohesive. While the possibilities of AI art are very impressive, it currently amounts to mass plagiarism, with a computer program in the middle that is tasked with sorting which parts to plagiarize. 

Those hopeful about the burgeoning AI industry are at odds with the creatives whose works are being used to train AI, especially when AI could be seen as an industry competitor.