code by BunBox

AI is amoral.

John Searle, 1980

In the literal sense, the programmed computer understands what the car or the adding machine understand: namely, exactly nothing.

AI is a tool to be used like any other, but I am going to take this opportunity to explain my personal stance on it. The TL;DR version is simple: AI is amoral. It is a program which cannot itself do good or bad, only be used. How it is used, however, is paramount.

  • Plagiarism. Programs like DallE, ArtAI, StarryAI, and others are unethical because they are trained on copyrighted works by nonconsenting artists. Scraping the internet for every image ever posted and compiling them into an AI is unethical and plagiaristic. I do not believe training an AI off of corporate works (such as Disney, Nintendo, etc.) are inherently evil either, but the product they produce should never be used for profit. Inspiration for a piece that will eventually be sold? Sure, artists take inspiration all the time. What an AI does is plagiarism. And that's bad.
  • Replacement of artists and creatives in the workplace. Using AI to create something, under the basis set above, means inherent theft. A person or company should not be able to profit off of theft. Christopher Paolini, author of The Inheritance Cycle, used an AI image generator to generate a cover for his most recent novel (as of June 2023) Fractal Noise. Such a big name in the industry making such a choice is an extremely worrying thing to see, as it will alert other large corporations into doing the same. Artists are already starving, and capitalism will cut costs wherever it can. Actions like these, as well as using AI to voice characters (when trained unethically) or attempting to pass off a celebrity or person saying something they did not (with clear intent to disinform).
  • Capitalism. Under the premise that an AI is trained unethically (see: 99% of current AIs publically available), and understanding how capitalism works, we can see the problem. If you need me to explain why capitalism is bad, I'm afraid you'll have to go elsewhere.

  • So, in what instances is AI okay? Or, more accurately, where are the gray areas?

  • Dysphoria. An AI program known as Voice2Voice (RCV, Gradio, etc.) can be used to "translate" a voice from one to another. Here is an example. Jokes aside, this is fantastic for trans folk who struggle with their IRL voice. You can train from any audio clips to create a voice for yourself. There is still a discussion to be had around plagiarism, whether an AI creating a vocal mimic counts as such (voicework has some strange rules and norms), and what it's being used for. Obviously, a major corporation using it to replace a voice actor is markedly different from a normal person using it to change their voice.
  • Fun. Do you believe pirating anime is okay? Odds are, you probably do, especially if you're not in the US. You don't necessarily pirate out of malice. Often it's because you love the show but either can't afford it, or it's not available in your country (for purchase or streaming). So let's say you type in "Joseph Joestar in the style of Studio Ghibli" into an AI image generator. You're not selling the image, you're curious. Maybe you want to see what the AI comes up with so you can get a better idea how to draw it yourself. Maybe it's for memes. The inherent harm is how the AI is trained, not casual use of it. This goes for literary AI generators as well, such as NovelAI and ChatGPT. Fun, not profit.
  • Is profit ever okay? With AI image and text generators? No. With AI itself? Potentially.

    Let's say a person writes their own ASMR script. We'll say it's 10 pages of ASMR roleplay where [anime character] tucks you in at night. Then you voice it, doing the lines and intonations on your own. Then it's run through RVC GUI with a model trained from that character's voice. Congratulations, you have done 90% of the work. When the vast majority of the work is your own, and the AI's training is not inherently unethical (voice mimicry and audio manipulation, in particular, is not new; audacity has been around for years, though it takes more finessing), then I see no problem with monetizing it. This cannot be replicated with fanfiction and artwork created with AI. See the first bullet. There could be an argument as to whether or not a voice actor "owns" the voice they do, but more often than not the voice is "owned" by the company requesting it. The VA has no more ownership to the voice than they do to the character (in the eyes of the company), and can be punished for using the voice inappropriately. Whether that, in and of itself, is okay or not is not the point of this bullet.

    "Profit" is also a loaded term. Is a person being paid $5 to use the programs needed to train a voice for someone comparable to a company choosing not to pay voice actors for their series? No. In the same token that fan art is not comparable to companies stealing individual's works to sell on t-shirts, small creators making pennies and dimes is not inherently wrong. Unless you actually believe fanart is illegal, in which case, I suggest having that discussion elsewhere. Creating an AI for a character (canon or OC) for a couple bucks is also not something I, personally, take issue with. The unethically trained AIs, on the other hand, are still to be considered.
  • So are you using AI in your work? No. Not in my writing or artwork. I have used V2V (RVC GUI) for personal fun, and I use SillyTavern to RP with my favorite characters. AI is not used in my work, because I do not believe it is ethical to do so. I just don't believe AI itself is an irreversible evil. I believe capitalism is.

  • With any luck, that made sense. In any case, use the links to the right to see the dumb little things I do with AI when playing with it. I am still developing my thoughts and feelings on this (and AI used for medical aid and disability I also have entirely different feelings on), so feel free to ask questions and engage in good-faith discussion.

    All that aside, here's my project link. Use the links to the right to see completed versions or posted WIPs~