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Generative AI Receives Support from Artists in Open Letter to Congress

May 17, 2024

Artists, who are poised to experience the transformative effects of AI in the coming years, are not all viewing it with skepticism. A collective of artists has penned an open letter to Congress, emphasizing that generative AI is not necessarily detrimental. They stress the importance of involving the creative community in discussions about the regulation and definition of this technology.

Generative AI, along with machine learning and other automated tools, have been integral to the creation of music, art, and various media for years. The artists argue that this is merely another instrument in their toolkit. Therefore, those who utilize these tools, be it software developers or traditional artists, should have a say in their evolution and governance.

Here's a condensed version of the letter they shared:

Just like past innovations, these tools democratize art creation — a field that has historically been accessible primarily to those with significant financial resources, physical abilities, and the right connections. Regrettably, the groundbreaking work of many artists is often misconstrued. Some critics argue that it's about merely inputting commands or recycling existing pieces. Others criticize our techniques and our art as being rooted in 'theft' and 'data piracy.' ...numerous artists are hesitant to even experiment with these vital new tools due to potential backlash. Sen. Schumer and Congress members, we value the ongoing discussions, 'Insight Forums,' and other efforts centered on the regulation of generative AI systems. We believe it's crucial to involve artists like us in these discussions. We recognize an unprecedented opportunity to guide the development of generative AI responsibly. The prevalent concerns about the impact on artistic labor cannot be sidelined. Often, large corporations exploit artists using technology, jeopardizing our livelihoods. If the objective is to ensure generative AI benefits all of humanity, it would be a grave error to exclude those who understand its potential and constraints.

While the sentiments expressed in the letter are valid and insightful, it's essential to note that some criticisms of AI systems stem from concerns about intellectual property theft. These systems might leverage artists' creations for profit without their consent or compensation. This issue is particularly pertinent in the digital age, where copyright intricacies are ever-evolving.

The debate around AI's role in art is just beginning, and there's ample scope for diverse opinions and collaboration. This open letter offers a unique perspective, but it's likely to face resistance from other artists who feel their work or stance is being misinterpreted. As technology continues to evolve, these discussions will remain relevant and ongoing.

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