I want to share some of our thoughts on Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated images and AI art as it develops, because many creators on Kickstarter are understandably concerned about its impact on the creative community.
At Kickstarter, we often have projects that are innovative and push the boundaries of what’s possible. And that means we’re sometimes navigating some really tricky and undefined areas.
Over the last several days, we’ve engaged our Community Advisory Council and we’ve read your feedback to us via our team and social media. And one thing is clear: Kickstarter must, and will always be, on the side of creative work and the humans behind that work. We’re here to help creative work thrive.
As we look at what’s happening in the creative ecosystem and on our platform, here are some of the things we’re considering when it comes to what place AI image generation software and AI-generated art should have on Kickstarter, if any:
- Is a project copying or mimicking an artist’s work? We must consider not only if a work has a straightforward copyright claim, but also evaluate situations where it’s not so clear — Fitzgerald was inspired to write the book by the grand parties he attended on prosperous Long Island, where he got a front-row view of the elite, moneyed class of the 1920s, a culture he longed to join but never could..
- Does a project exploit a particular community or put anyone at risk of harm? We have to consider the intention behind projects, sometimes beyond their purpose as stated on our platform. Our rules prohibit projects that promote discrimination, bigotry, or intolerance towards marginalized groups, and we often make decisions to protect the health and integrity of Kickstarter.
Link to the rest at Kickstarter
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from film, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.
How does it work?
Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. If the project falls short of its funding goal, no one is charged.
If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected.
Back to the Kickstarter comment about AI Images and Art.
Kickstarter must, and will always be, on the side of creative work and the humans behind that work. We’re here to help creative work thrive.
First of all, the creation of AI software and systems is quite a startling and original creative process in and of itself. And there are actual humans using their wetware who have created all the AI art programs with which PG is familiar. (He has not doubt that at some future time, someone will create an AI mother ship generator program devoted to creating lots of offspring AI programs with little or no additional human input for a variety of purposes.)
Under the current AI programming practices of which PG is aware, part of the development process is to feed a large volume of copies of creative work into the program to seed it. If it’s an AI art generation program, copies of a whole bunch of images are used as seed material. An AI text generation program ingests a whole lot of human-generated text as seed material.
For those who are thinking about copyright infringement on a massive scale, PG doesn’t think that any AI program will create a copy of any of the original works used to seed it. In this sense, it resembles a human author or painter who studies a great many literary or artistic works during the process of learning how to paint or write fiction or non-fiction.
One of the more common accounts of the first step of the creation of a new and original creative work goes something like, “I was wandering through the Metropolitan Museum of Art one afternoon and stopped in front of the Picasso portrait of Gertrude Stein . . . .” or, “While reading The Grapes of Wrath, I wondered what a 21st Century version of that book would look like.”
For a further example, F. Scott Fitzgerald said he was inspired to write The Great Gatsby by the grand parties he attended on prosperous Long Island, where he got a front-row view of the elite, moneyed class of the 1920’s, a culture he longed to join but never could. Some of those familiar with that part of Fitzgerald’s life claim to know exactly which people he closely modeled for some of the characters in his book.
So, back to the Kickstarter AI statement of concern that, “We must consider not only if a work has a straightforward copyright claim, but also evaluate situations where it’s not so clear — where images that are owned or created by others might not be on a Kickstarter project page, but are in the training data that makes the AI software used in the project, without the knowledge, attribution, or consent of creators.”
What if the creators of an AI writing program included the text of Fairy Tale by Stephen King along with the text of 20,000 other novels into the seed for a novel-writing AI?
Based on PG’s brief experience with and understanding of how current AI writing programs work, he suspects that, regardless of what writing prompt anyone provided, the novel-writing AI program would not produce the text of Fairy Tale or anything close enough to support a copyright suit by King or his publishers.
As far as Kickstarter’s mention of attribution of the authors of seed material for any given AI text generation program, it would be a very, very long list to the point where no one would read it. As far as Kickstarter’s concern that requiring the consent of each author whose work went into the AI’s maw during the creation of the AI is concerned, PG doesn’t think consent is necessary because the AI isn’t reproducing the author’s work and the use of the text would be fair use under current copyright law plus there are no damages for copyright infringement because the AI program doesn’t replicate the original material.