I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while and the longer I’ve had to think about it, the more strongly I’ve felt about it.
The creation of AIs that can emulate the creation of art and writing is amazing. It also demonstrably involves an enormous amount of theft, not just for the training of the AI but even straight up plagiarism in what the AIs produce. AIs have also been shown to be racist and bigoted in other ways as a result of their training and possibly the means of their creation.
I already do not use AI art and certainly will not until such time as artists are fairly credited and compensated for the use of their art — and until AIs require artist consent. This is an easy thing for me to say as a writer however — after all, most of what I do is written, not visual. I’ll do my best to avoid using AI generated stock art when it comes up, the same way I do my best to avoid using stolen or plagiarised stock art.
But with AI writing, I am more culpable. I did a video series of co-writing with AI Dungeon and NovelAI, for which I must apologise. And though I didn’t much think on it or its implications at the times, I have now confirmed that AI Dungeon’s dataset is scraped from web fiction. I do not know the source of NovelAI’s dataset but in the absence of anything to the contrary, I must treat it the same in order to avoid making the same mistake again. I am particularly sorry to any writer whose work could be recognised in what the AI produced.
The writers whose fiction was scraped to create writing AIs did not consent and are not credited or compensated. Until such a time as that changes, I cannot in good conscience support those projects by the creation of content on them. And while I haven’t used either AI since the last stream in September 2021, I feel strongly that leaving up the videos and the connected posts on my website is tacit endorsement, even with disclaimers. So all videos and posts with those AIs have been de-listed.
AI generators are a murky and very new area of technology and copyright that I do not feel qualified to speak to or about. All I can do is try to make the best choices I can with the information that I have.
Playing with those AIs under the guise of ‘co-writing’ was a fun and novel experience for me. In general, I’m not sure I believe that playing with these AIs alone is strictly harmful, though I will not be doing so until a certain level of ethics and accountability is met. In particular, AI Dungeon and NovelAI were, at the time I used them, in a very different place to AI Art generators — they were not capable of producing passable fiction on their own yet (or not at the tiers I used them), though that has very likely changed or will change soon.
I hope that one day, AIs will become a tool for supporting and uplifting creators instead of one for stealing from them. But we are definitely not there yet, and we are unlikely to get to that stage without critically engaging with their creation, training, and use.