How DeviantArt is navigating the AI art minefield

deviant art
deviant art

Artificial intelligence is learning to make art, and nobody has quite figured out how to handle it — including DeviantArt, one of the best-known homes for artists on the internet. Last week, DeviantArt decided to step into the minefield of AI image generation, launching a tool called DreamUp that lets anyone make pictures from text prompts. It’s part of a larger DeviantArt attempt to give more control to human artists, but it’s also created confusion — and, among some users, anger.

DreamUp is based on Stable Diffusion, the open-source image-spawning program created by Stability AI. Anyone can sign into DeviantArt and get five prompts for free, and people can buy between 50 and 300 per month with the site’s Core subscription plans, plus more for a per-prompt fee. Unlike other generators, DreamUp has one distinct quirk: it’s built to detect when you’re trying to ape another artist’s style. And if the artist objects, it’s supposed to stop you.

“AI is not something that can be avoided. The technology is only going to get stronger from day to day,” says Liat Karpel Gurwicz, CMO of DeviantArt. “But all of that being said, we do think that we need to make sure that people are transparent in what they’re doing, that they’re respectful of creators, that they’re respectful of creators’ work and their wishes around their work.”

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