Thoughts and questions on AI-generated art

AI-generated illustration. ‘cyberpunk commando hacking a terminal in a corporate facility’

On Random. Coming from someone who spent nearly four decades in the trades, 25 years in custom glass work, and currently writes spec-fiction and indie war games.


– Hasn’t technological innovation changed the face of labor and jobs for centuries in every field?

– Were there boycotts, social backlash, new laws introduced to curb the use of robotic assembly lines in automotive manufacturing in order to preserve the human workforce? (Answer: No – not in any meaningful way.)

– Why should artists and artisans be exempt? What about the countless thousands of other workers down throughout history in other fields whose jobs were changed or eliminated by machines?

– Do we shame/blame/restrict the one-man street busker using a Korg Volca Sample Playback Rhythm Machine for ‘denying revenue to fellow musicians’ ?

– At the risk of sounding rude – is much of the current push back really just Cultural Luddites whining now that the indifferent tide of progress has arrived at their door?

– Regarding cost: do artists and artisans have the right to demand, to enforce, the purchase of their products at higher prices when for many people, less expensive, machine-made goods suffice for their particular needs and are within their budget?

– Shouldn’t people be allowed to use, to purchase what they want? Doesn’t the final decision and ultimate responsibility rest in the hands of the consumer?


Below are six examples of text-prompt, AI-generated art. I spent twenty bucks and a few hours of mucking around with the program.

When I did stained/leaded glass work, I occasionally had that potential client who would point out that they could purchase an entire leaded glass entryway at Home Depot for the same price as I was asking for custom panels. They were correct.

Of course it wasn’t an accurate comparison; mine was one-of-a-kind, custom design, colors, exact fit, etc. As opposed to an assembly line, limited selection, mass-produced product. But it was their home, their money, their budget, their decision.

These days, as a ‘Very Small Business’ i.e. a one-man outfit working out of a home office, I’m watching costs, trying to break even, and scrambling to pay bills like everyone else. I hire artists, editors, and graphic designers whenever and wherever I can. But also need time and money-saving tech.

When I already use GIMP, Canva, Shutterstock, and Word Editor to help my work, reduce costs, and make ends meet, why not use AI-art as well?

Is it unethical to do so? Am I somehow callous, disrespectful, sabotaging creatives, stealing income if I use the program for my work?

2 Replies to “Thoughts and questions on AI-generated art”

  1. I absolutely agree with your sentiments. AI art has become a great creative outlet for me. And I use multiple AIs in my professional work as well. It is not the technology that will destroy us. Artists, writers, photographers, creators of all kinds have continually adapted new technology as it comes along. As always, it will be corporate greed erecting guardrails and barriers. Nobody owes Getty or Picasso or Rembrandt a cent.

    1. Hi Mark.
      I think the initial push back was a knee-jerk reaction. And I understand, on one level; after all it’s very sobering to consider my fiction or rule-design may one day be imitated and or supplanted by chat-ware.
      Looking past that initial fear, the challenge then becomes my ability to adapt. To up my game and integrate the new tech developments. Or sidestep it with – and it’s odd to write this – bespoke, uniquely human-generated content.
      I did similar with my stained glass work; there was absolutely no way I could compete with imported, mass-produced retail knick-nacks, so I focused instead on custom work and repair & restoration.
      It took me while to realize that, however. But once I did, I was free to concentrate on my work. Which is what i hope to do do now, with my writing.
      Have a good one.

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