Stable Diffusion is a Hammer

Taking inspiration from other works is literally not plagiarism, and while one can argue about the artistic value of AI art, I have yet to see a single case of an artist being able to point at a specific work that is actually plagiarism.

You can’t and shouldn’t be able to own a style. People copy each others’ styles all the time.

Yes, AI lets them do it faster. But they still have to create individually distinguishable works, and it’s still a person steering it. Because fundamentally, AI art is just a tool.

Most arguments I’ve seen against AI art are fundamentally rooted in the fear of corporations taking advantage of artists, in some form or another. (Or a vague concern about art becoming bland.) And I’d be a lot more concerned about that if none of the programs were open source…

But Stable Diffusion is open source. It belongs to the world, and I think the world is richer for it.

The more tools we have for making beauty, the better. The smoother we can make the process of taking a beautiful idea and realizing it where others can see, the richer we are.

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A Black Mirror-style thought experiment: if a person has a computer chip in their brain that stores everything they see, should they be allowed to load the code for Stable Diffusion onto that chip and run it on their memories? I say very, very, extremely yes.

What you can do with images you create using that program is a different matter…

But I feel very strongly that people should be allowed to own their own experiences of the world, which includes experiences of other people’s actions in their lives & also art they’ve absorbed.

Just because you own a thing doesn’t mean you’re allowed to use it to hurt others — you can own a hammer, but that doesn’t mean you can hit people with it.

If I see a piece of art, I own my memory of that, and I should be allowed to take inspiration from it.

Creating new, separate works of art inspired by preexisting works of art is not hitting someone with a hammer. It’s using the hammer to build something similar to what you’ve seen them build.

AI art programs are just beautiful, complicated hammers.

Just because some people are used to building houses very slowly and painstakingly without hammers doesn’t mean it needs to be done that way forever. It doesn’t mean that people who build houses with hammers, getting it done faster, are wrong.

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