Adobe used to be known as the company that made Acrobat and PhotoShop. However, Addobe is becoming more and more known as one of the great digital scam artists of the modern age.
From its slonky subscription models to making people pay for certain colors in Photoshopthe company, like so many others in these tumultuous times, is more concerned with growing its bottom line at any cost than thinking about the needs of its users or the consequences of its actions.
I bring this up today because less than a week after I forced people to check if they had a Onion story when learning about the color thingthe company has announced that it is embracing AI art, which is not only a huge grievance, but also poses a serious threat to the livelihoods of artists all over the world, big and small.
I’ve already made my feelings about AI very clear on this website—I wrote this feature in August while interviewing a range of artists from the video game and entertainment industry– and think it’s worthless not only because it’s a threat to artists, but also to art. While people’s jobs are obviously important, we’re not just talking about cotton gins here how in many ways this is a division of labor versus capital; we are talking about a process that infringes on a basic human pastime and creative endeavour.
Machines don’t make art. They are machines! They just make an approximate casserole of human art incorporated into it, in most cases without credit or compensation. As says Dan Sheehan in his fantastic piece Art in the age of optimizationAI art is not about art, it is just “a technology that clearly exists to remove the human element from the process of artistic expression”.
Anyway! Last week, Adobe dropped an announcement saying that AI-generated art would be made available as part of the company’s massive library of stock photos, going so far as to say the field “amplifies human creativity.” The company repeatedly boldly says that they have “thoroughly considered these questions and implemented a new submission policy that we believe will ensure that our content uses AI technology responsibly by creators and customers,” and that “generative AI is a major is a step forward for creators, leveraging the incredible power of machine learning to develop ideas faster by developing images using words, sketches and gestures.”
Creators? Get lost! These people create nothing! They punch words into a computer that is powered actually art! And even if, as they claim, Adobe can only release images that are “properly built, used, and disclosed,” it’s still worthless! Gosh! Trying to make amends a of the problems of AI art – art theft – does not absolve it from its others, such as the fact that nothing has to do with these images or that their creation has something to do with art!
Of course, the reaction from artists has been as wildly negative as any other AI art announcement in the past six months, with some criticizing the company, while others resorting to more traditional catchphrases: namely that artists were simply pirated PhotoShop instead of this company yet. give a cent.