AI Art is Theft: Labour, Extraction, and Exploitation, Or, On the Dangers of Stochastic Pollocks

Proceedings of the 2024 Acm Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency:186-196 (2024)
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Since the launch of applications such as DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion, generative artificial intelligence has been controversial as a tool for creating artwork. While some have presented longtermist worries about these technologies as harbingers of fully automated futures to come, more pressing is the impact of generative AI on creative labour in the present. Already, business leaders have begun replacing human artistic labour with AI-generated images. In response, the artistic community has launched a protest movement, which argues that AI image generation is a kind of theft. This paper analyzes, substantiates, and critiques these arguments, concluding that AI image generators involve an unethical kind of labour theft. If correct, many other AI applications also rely upon theft.



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Trystan S. Goetze
Cornell University

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Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Thomas E. Hill & Arnulf Zweig.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1996 - In Mary J. Gregor (ed.), Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37-108.

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