I’ve cancelled the auto renewal of my ArtStation pro account; I am paid up until April, and I hope Epic responds and protects the artistic community before then.
An artist drawing inspiration from other artwork will take on board the elements of that artwork that they have an emotional response to. It’s not for immediate monetary gain, it’s part of the process of their own development. The result will be different, due to differing stroke techniques, other influences, differing skill levels etc. Good human artists draw on their surroundings, culture and experiences to bring personality to their work. The artistic community therefore evolves together; each generation iterates upon previous styles and techniques and bring new elements to it. This is how art has progressed for centuries.
AI on the other hand is fed artwork as data. There is no emotional aspect to this, and all it can do is combine and mix different data to produce a result. That data belongs to the artist or owner of the image, and in this case it’s been taken without consent and put into commercial products that can generate huge quantities of images in a short amount of time, without barriers such as skill, resources or indeed available free time. There will be no evolution without feeding in more data from human artists. This may change in time but currently what we call AI is not even a true AI, it’s advanced machine learning. The reason it can’t do hands well is because it has no concept of what a hand is; it’s just learned from the data that those types of shapes are often placed at that part of the human body. It doesn’t think or feel in the way we do. Therefore the argument that it is ‘inspired’ in the same way as human artists is wrong, and what we are looking at is purely data theft, not an artistic process.
There are numerous other reasons why AI art should be kept off ArtStation, but until they address this first part, the conversation can’t really progress. I’m not against AI being used to make some tools more intelligent, or image creation being used for idea generation, but it needs to be done ethically, and ArtStation should be firmly on the side of the artists in this case.