AI art needs to go

Why AI art generators are unethical


The Lensa app generates AI art, but at what cost_ Photo courtesy of Lensa app

Jordyn Rossmeisl, Staff Reporter

By now, most of you have probably heard of AI art. Some of you have used AI art generators; heck, even I am guilty of trying it out. However, as this new and improving technology becomes more popular, it also brings up some questions. 

As an artist myself, I wondered what AI-generated art means for the art community, and if it is ethical. After some digging, I am here to tell you that AI art is not as innocent as it seems. 

There are two main issues with AI art. The first is that AI art generators are producing work faster and cheaper than actual artists, so artists are in danger of losing their jobs to this technology. 

According to The New York Times, people have already begun to use AI art instead of hiring artists. They spoke with Mr. Waldoch, a young game designer, who did just that.

The NYT article said: “Initially, Mr. Waldoch planned to hire human artists through the gig-work platform Upwork to illustrate each day’s rhyming word pair. But when he saw the cost — between $50 and $60 per image, plus time for rounds of feedback and edits — he decided to try using A.I. instead.”

Waldoch plugged word pairs into Midjourney and DreamStudio, an app based on Stable Diffusion, and created what he needed in only a few minutes of time and costing only a few cents.

Now, AI stealing jobs is not a new problem. As technology continues to improve, many people are at risk of losing their jobs to AI. But it is much worse if the AI that is being credited and taking the jobs of artists, is also stealing the data from those artists in order to make its creations. 

This brings me to the second issue: AI art generators are stealing from artists to produce images, essentially plagiarizing and profiting from it. How do we know that the AI is stealing from artists? Well, this is where the laws get complicated, and where the fight begins. 

AI art generators cannot create original work. They have to be fed pre-existing images and artwork. 

According to, “when Stable Diffusion was being built, machine-learning algorithms were fed a large number of image-text pairs, and they taught themselves billions of different ways these images and captions could be connected. … it’s far from a streamlined process.”

At first, the companies that created these AI art generators argued that the AI learns from these images, but creates something new, just like an artist would. However, since AI art’s emergence, more and more proof has come out that AI is taking bits and pieces from artists’ work and directly incorporating it into the images. 

According to, some artists have found bits and pieces of their work, and their signatures, in images concocted by AI generators. 

One of the AI art generators, The Lensa app created by Prisma Labs, has generated portraits that seem “to have hints of artist signatures.” This has led to people suspecting that the AI is indeed taking many artists’ work without their consent.

AI art generators are stealing artists’ work to learn from it and profiting off of the images that they generate for little cost, and the artists whose work fed these machines get nothing. If that doesn’t sound wrong to you, I don’t know what will.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. Artists have begun to stand against these tech companies, and fight for their work. 

According to, “A group of artists has filed a class-action complaint against the companies behind a trio of A.I. art generators, saying the services violated copyright and unfair competition laws.” 

In addition to the lawsuit, artists all over have begun talking about AI art and its impact. It may be tempting to use AI art, but now that you know the consequences, please consider supporting an actual artist instead. It may take a little longer, and cost a little more, but the result will be worth it.