Adobe was once known as the company that created Acrobat and PhotoShop. However, Addobe is increasingly known as one of the great digital scammers of the modern era.
From its shonky subscription models to make people pay for certain colors in PhotoShopthe company is, like so many others in these tumultuous times, more concerned with increasing its bottom line at any cost than taking a moment to consider the needs of its users or the consequences of its actions.
I bring this up today because, less than a week after forcing people to check that they weren’t reading a Onion story by learning the color thingthe company has announced that it is embracing AI art, which is not only a huge scam, but also a serious threat to the livelihoods of artists around the world, big and small.
I’ve made my feelings about AI very clear before on this website—I wrote this feature in August while interviewing a range of artists from the video game and entertainment industry-and thinks it sucks not just because it’s a threat to artists, but to art. Although people’s jobs are of course important, we are not just talking about cotton gins here, and how it is in many ways a labor/capital split; we are talking about a process that encroaches on a fundamentally human hobby and creative pursuit.
Machines do not make art. They are machines! They only approximate the human art that has been introduced into them, in the vast amount of cases without credit or compensation. As Dan Sheehan says in his fantastic article Art in the Age of OptimizationAI art is not about art, it is simply “a technology that clearly exists to remove the human element from the process of artistic expression”.
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In any event! Last week, Adobe released an announcement saying the AI-generated art was going to be made available as part of the company’s extensive library of stock images, going so far as to say that the domain “amplifies human creativity.” The company repeatedly boldly says things like they’ve “deeply thought about these issues and put in place a new submission policy that we believe will ensure our content uses AI technology in a meaningful way.” accountable by creators and customers”, and that “generative AI is a big step forward for creators, leveraging the incredible power of machine learning to imagine faster by developing images using of words, sketches and gestures”.
Creators? Kiss my ass! These people do not create anything! They punch words into a computer that’s been fed real art! And even though Adobe can only, as they claim, release images that have been “properly constructed, used, and disclosed,” it still sucks! Gah! try to do well a problems with AI art – art theft – does not absolve it from others, such as the fact that nothing to do with these images or their creation has anything to do with art!
Artist reaction has of course been as overwhelmingly negative as any other AI art announcement in the past six months, with some criticizing the company while others resort to more traditional cries: namely, that artists are just pirating PhotoShop instead of giving this company another penny.
Stock images may seem like filler to many, but as someone who uses them all the time, I’ve always admired the work that goes into creating them (artwork and photos), and I think the average person has it too, that’s why so many people have become memes over the years.