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Is the AI software cheating the artists?

by Eric Hufschmid

27 October 2023 created the image above.
How many artists have been harmed by it?

Should we put restrictions on the AI training data?

Many artists are complaining that the text-to-image software is cheating them by using their artwork without paying them royalties, and they demand that the AI software be prohibited from using their images without authorization.

Is the AI software cheating the artists? Should artists be allowed to restrict the training data of the AI software?

The AI software is not cheating the artists

The artists believe that they are being cheated because the AI software is using their artwork as training data, but that is exactly what the human artists do. Specifically, every artist uses other people's art for his "training data". Every artist is influenced by the art from other people.

If we could to go back in time and give a prehistoric tribe some oil paints, canvases, and other tools for creating paintings and sculptures, they would create paintings and sculptures that are similar to the other prehistoric cave paintings (such as the handprints to the right) and sculptures.

Even if those prehistoric people had more artistic talent than Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, they would have created art that resembled what the other prehistoric people were doing simply because they did not have the training data that da Vinci and Michelangelo had.

The artists of today are not creating drawings that resemble cave paintings because they have been trained on an enormous amount of data from thousands of other artists.

The AI software is doing exactly what the human artists are doing; specifically, using the art from thousands of artists for training material. If it is wrong for AI software to use existing art for training, then why not say that it is wrong for humans to use existing art for training?

If we limit the training data for the AI software, we are behaving like YouTube, Google, the ADL, and other companies that censor the information that they don't like. We do not benefit by censoring information, or by suppressing investigations and discussions of "controversial" issues, such as by firing James Damore, or by threatening people with arrest for climate change denial, sexism, hate speech, or Holocaust denial.

Although some individual artists might profit by crippling the AI software, the human race would suffer from inferior software. We should not let a group of people intimidate us into suppressing technical progress.

We must adapt to new technology

The artists are in a similar situation as the farmers when the iron plow was developed, and the typesetters when lithography was developed, and the people who made chamber pots when toilets were developed, and the people who made photographic film when digital cameras were developed.

We should not let people inhibit progress simply because they don't want to learn about, and adapt to, new technology.

A group of people at the University of Chicago proposed the creation of "Nightshade" software to sabotage the AI software that uses art without the permission of the artist. That is as absurd and destructive as if the people who created photographic film were looking for ways to sabotage digital cameras. Computer programmers should put their effort into improving our lives, not sabotaging one another.

Eventually robots will become so useful that they can replace an enormous number of people. We would be foolish to allow people to inhibit the development of the robots, and especially if we allow them to create software to sabotage the robots.

As of October 2023, the AI software is capable of creating art that is better, and more creative, than most humans. Furthermore, it can give us images within seconds. We should be impressed by this software, not frightened of it and trying to inhibit it.

Eventually we will be able to tell robots to give us images, and they will use the AI software to create images. We will also be able to tell the robots to create spreadsheets for us, and to design a gear or chain sprocket. Robots will put a lot of people out of work, but we must adapt to the technology rather than fight it.

Human artists take a long time to create art, and it is impractical for most of us to find and negotiate with an artist, and to pay them for their work.

The AI software allows everybody in the world to create art and educational drawings within seconds, and either free or at a very low cost.

Software might not put the exceptionally talented human artists out of work, but we no longer need the mediocre and below-average artists. The software can create better quality images than most artists, and at a much faster rate, and without any complaints about royalties, artistic freedom, plagiarism, or copyrights. Although some of the AI software is charging a fee, that is more sensible than allowing the software to collect royalties.

Imagine 3D geometry training data

The AI software is currently using visual images for training, which allows it to create images that are visually acceptable, but it cannot create dimensionally accurate items. However, eventually it will be trained on 3D geometry and skeleton information.

Eventually the AI software will be trained with 3D geometry, meshes, and skeletons.
That will allow the AI software to create 3D geometry for electric motors, robotic arms, jet engine turbine blades, and heat exchangers for refrigerators. It will also be able to do stress analyses on components.

It will know how to create dimensionally correct people, bolts, antelope, and crescent wrenches.

The skeleton information will allow it to know how and where the components of our body can bend and move, and what the restrictions are.

Since the 1990s, the software that I create, MillWrite, has been able to accept a "command file" from a computer and create a CNC program. One company uses this feature to engrave a part number and serial number on steel dies. They modified their sales software so that when somebody orders a die, their software creates a command file for MillWrite, which is on another computer of their network. MillWrite then creates a CNC file which it saves on the hard disk of the CNC machine. No human is involved with the creation of the CNC program.

That company is using the MS-DOS version of MillWrite, but the latest version can do more than engrave, such as create CNC programs for cutting gears, chain sprockets, and inlays. I haven't bothered creating commands for those options since nobody has wanted it, but it is very easy to add more commands.

By modifying CAD/CAM systems to take commands from a computer, the AI software will be able to take commands from people, such as "Give me a CNC program for a Mazak milling machine to cut a 1040 steel chain sprocket with 24 teeth, and a pitch diameter of...". The AI software would then create a command file for a CAD/CAM program similar to MillWrite, which then creates a CNC file for the specified machine, which could be a milling machine, laser cutter, embroidery machine, or 3D printer.

I would put the MillWrite source code into the public domain if the AI companies wanted to do this, but I suspect that MillWrite would be considered too crude to waste their time with. Software such as Blender and Fusion 360 seem much more advanced than MillWrite. Besides, I'm on the "Forbidden People" list, so everybody is afraid to contact me, or even mention my name or website, other than the people trying to observe or manipulate me, such as Trond Halvorsen. However, if no company is going to put their CAD/CAM system into the public domain, then the AI companies can consider finding the courage to violate the Forbidden People list and use MillWrite.

The purpose for mentioning this concept is that when the AI software understands 3D geometry and has the ability to interact with CAD/CAM systems, it will create more of a disruption in human life than the text-to-image software because it will have a  significant effect on engineers, architects, carpenters, machinists, embroidery companies, and everybody else who designs or creates items. It will put a lot of people out of work, and require the others to learn how to use the AI software.

When robots become more advanced, then the AI software will be able to create command files for the robots to do things, such as gardening, mopping floors, and repairing a refrigerator.

If we feel sorry for the artists and allow them to inhibit the text-to-image software, what will we do when the AI software is capable of interacting with CAD/CAM systems and robots? Are we going to feel sorry for the people it puts out of work and allow them to cripple that software, also? Will we allow people at the University of Chicago to sabotage the software with an updated version of Nightshade?

Do artists deserve royalties?

Most people are paid either for their time, such as an hourly or monthly wage, or they are paid piecework. Artists are one of the exceptions. They want royalties for what they create.

Another exception are real estate agents. They want to collect a percentage of the sale price of the property they sell rather than be paid for their time.

It is possible for real estate agents to charge an hourly fee, just like gardeners and plumbers. In such a case, we would hire a real estate agent when we want his assistance in finding a house, and we would pay him for his travel expenses if we want him to drive us to the properties for sale, just like we pay for a taxi.

Likewise, credit card companies take a percentage of the financial transactions, but it is possible for those companies to charge a fee according to amount of work they do to process a transaction.

The AI software is behaving better than the artists because it is not demanding royalties. Some of the AI software charges a fee, but that is better than demanding royalties.

How should we divide our wealth?

Artists could charge an hourly fee for their work. In such a case, the price of their paintings, sculptures, fiction books, and other art would be based on the amount of time they put into it, and the cost of the materials.

It is also possible for actors, directors, musicians, songwriters, and other people involved with television programs, music, movies, and theatrical productions to be paid for their time, rather than get royalties.

So why don't the artists, musicians, directors, and other people in the entertainment business charge us for their time, like almost everybody else? Why don't they make similar incomes as everybody else? Why does Jerry Seinfeld deserve more than $60 million a year in royalties for being in a television show for only 9 years?

Conversely, it is possible for automobile companies to refuse to sell automobiles, and instead require us to lease them, and with a meter inside similar to that of a taxi, in order to charge us a royalty fee for every mile we drive. It is also possible for the people who build houses to refuse to sell them to us, and instead charge us a royalty fee for each day that we live in the house.

If we are going to allow artists to collect royalties for their paintings, why not require the artists to share the royalties with the people who provide them with oil paints, canvases, musical instruments, and other items that they need to produce their art? Why not require the actors and directors to share the royalties that they get from television programs and movies, with everybody involved with the production?

How do we divide our material wealth in a "fair" manner? Would we be treating artists "fairly" if we paid them an hourly wage? Or would that be abusing or exploiting them? Would we be cheating an artist if we made him share his royalties with the people who directly or indirectly helped him produce his art?

Furthermore, the reason that the artists have so much time to create paintings, movies, music, fiction books, sculptures, movies, and other types of art is because there are lots of farmers, mechanics, factory workers, engineers, and other people who provide them with food, electricity, homes, and other necessities. Why not let those people share the royalties? The artists would not be able to create art if it were not for the support of all of those people. Therefore, why should the artist be the only person who profits from that group effort?

The free enterprise systems do not allow leadership, so there is no authority to make decisions about these issues. Instead, businesses are put into a battle for money, and that battle favors the people who are the most selfish, aggressive, deceptive, and abusive.

Artists seem to be unhappy

We do not know much about the human mind, but I suspect that the people most likely to become artists are those with some type of serious mental disorder. As a group, the artists seem to be less happy than most people, have more trouble dealing with drugs, gambling, sex, and money, and they seem to be less successful at forming stable, pleasant relationships.

This artist regards jobs as analogous to keeping an owl in a tiny cage and making him work.
A lot of their paintings, sculptures, movies, and fiction stories are of unpleasant issues, such as depression, suicide, bullying, loneliness, violence, and drug abuse.

They also produce a lot of art that has high levels of hatred for militaries, police, businesses, schools, and conservatives. A lot of art is also sexual, and frequently of unusual sexual desires.

If the text-to-image software was creating unpleasant images of suicide, loneliness, and drug abuse, we would consider the software to be defective and disgusting, and we would tell the computer programmers fix it. However, when humans create unpleasant art, we resist considering the possibility that their art is a symptom of a person who is suffering.

We should investigate people, including children, who create unpleasant art, or who behave in a bizarre manner. We should try to determine what is causing their strange behavior because if their problem is due to environmental issues, such as mercury, concussions, or pesticides, then we could reduce the number of people suffering from these problems.

We are not cruel to criticize art

Most of us want art to stimulate pleasant feelings and memories. When we complain that some particular art is sad, ugly, or depressing, some artists respond that we are insulting their art, or that we don't appreciate art.

We must resist being intimidated by artists. We are not cruel or arrogant to tell somebody our opinion of his art. The artists have no trouble letting us know what they like and dislike, and we should not be concerned about letting them know what we like and dislike.

This artist considers schools to be ruining people's moods and attitudes.

I regard his art as being so unpleasant that it ruins my mood and attitude.

We would be cruel if we insulted the artists, but we cannot hurt an artist simply by telling him that we dislike his art.

The only way an artist will be hurt by our opinion is if he chooses to react with pouting or anger. Everybody has the choice to react to an opinion by ignoring it, treating it as constructive criticism, or reacting with a temper tantrum or pouting.

If a person chooses to react to our opinion with a temper tantrum or by pouting, that is their choice, and whatever suffering they experience as a result is self-inflicted. We should not feel guilty if somebody chooses to react in that manner.

Imagine if we could read minds

If we had the ability to read other people's minds, we would know the truth about what other people were thinking. It would be impossible for people to lie to us. We would know when they dislike something we do or say, or how we look.

Reading people's minds would expose us to reality, but how many people can handle reality?

If we could read minds, we would discover whether we were lied to about the world wars, the Holocaust, the 9/11 attack, global warming, and the Protocols of Zion. We would also discover how many of the doctors, religious officials, policemen, and other people are involved with pedophile networks. We would discover how many Jews regard us as Goyim. We would discover how many of our coworkers and neighbors wish we would get out of their lives.

Most people react to differences of opinion by either ignoring them or insulting them, and they react to constructive criticism with anger or pouting, so it seems unlikely that they would be able to handle the ability to read minds.

Although many people boast about enjoying differences of opinion, they only enjoy insulting other opinions. If people truly enjoyed a difference of opinion, then I would not have encountered incredible resistance when I told them that the World Trade Center towers were demolished with explosives. However, I found that the vast majority of people refused to look at the evidence, and most of them also insulted me.

Most people ignore whatever they dislike, and they believe whatever they find emotionally appealing. When they ask us for our opinion about their art, haircut, home decorations, or the meal that they served to us, they want and expect praise. They don't want the truth.

Many artists are rude and insulting

I mentioned in other documents that liberals, as a group, seem more hypocritical than conservatives, and artists are an example. Artists do not like it when we criticize their art, but not many of them hesitate to insult us.

For example, from about 2016 onward, many artists created art with high levels of hatred for Donald Trump. A search of the Internet images for "Donald Trump cartoon" does not provide a random mixture of cartoons that are for and against him, or cartoons that are neutral and amusing. Rather, almost all of the cartoons are extremely insulting.

Government officials have been insulted for centuries, but the Donald Trump art seems to be noticeably more angry and less amusing. I even heard a few liberals complain that the hatred of Donald Trump was extreme.

A lot of artists also boast about supporting diversity, tolerance, love, and acceptance, but they frequently make insulting cartoons that depict businesses, police officers, militaries, and schools as greedy, selfish, murderous, oppressive, or vicious.

The angry art is an indication that the artist is suffering from an extreme level of anger and hatred towards the person or organization.

Although some conservatives create art that is angry and insulting, there is less of it. Or does it get less publicity because most of the people in the media are liberals?


The AI software is not cheating the artists. It is simply another technical advancement that has an effect on some of our jobs and activities. The artists are reacting to this new technology with anger and pouting, but we should demand that the artists adapt to new technology.

We should look forward to advances in robots, AI software, 3D printers, and other technology rather than whine about it, or sabotage it.