We Don't Use Generative AI

We Don't Use Generative AI

AI is the hot topic right now, especially in the art community, and I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t chime in on behalf of Shrimp Cult Press. As you might have guessed, Shrimp Cult Press is a no-AI company. We don’t use generative AI to create anything – not images for social media, not blog posts, and certainly not any content that we publish in our books. In fact, we refuse to publish any content that has been generated by AI. We support human artists who want to share their work with the world and make money from it. (See our AI Art Policy)

Some people talk about the “democratization of art” as though artists have been greedily hoarding our abilities – like we’re a noble elite class keeping art from the masses. Art has always been democratized, it just takes dedication and practice to do well. In fact, the democratic nature of art is exactly what companies like OpenAI and Midjourney are seeking to destroy. They want to consolidate the profitable production of art so that they are the only ones who can produce art for money. It’s the standard tech company practice: do it more efficiently, edge out the competition, then jack up the price. We’ve seen it with retail, movies and TV, food delivery, and now we’re seeing it start to happen with art.

There’s a philosophical concern too that’s harder to express. Art isn’t art just because it’s pretty to look at. Art is meaningful because we share a common humanity - and the experience of being human - with the artist. There is no shared experience being conveyed by something generated by an algorithm. What does our artwork mean when it’s just regurgitated internet-scrapings governed by constrained randomness? What happens when art is no longer an expression of shared humanity, but rather just one more pure-profit distillate dripping from the still of late capitalism?

Does AI have it’s place? Yeah, I think it does. As long as AI isn’t replacing people, I’m interested in what it can do. Can you imagine playing a video game in which the NPCs can respond to freeform questions? That sounds really cool. I have friends who couldn’t afford to hire a resume consultant, so they used AI to get preliminary feedback on their resume. No one lost any work. I think there are places for this technology, but there are limits to what we should accept.

Lot’s of people talk about generative AI as an inevitability, and I don’t think that’s true. We humans, have a tremendous power to choose the kind of world we live it. Largely, the world around us is something we’ve built together. We get to make a lot of choices about what we will and will not accept, even if it takes many of us making those choices in order to affect change. Climate change is a prime example: decades ago, as a society, we embraced fossil fuels and coal as sources of energy, and the whole world has felt the results of that decision. Now, we're trying to make a different choice. Similarly, we now get to choose whether our art is created by people, or whether it’s created by corporations that use algorithms to chop up and regurgitate the (often stolen) work of human artists who haven't been paid for it.

Which future do you want to live in? And are your daily choices helping to tip the scales in favour of that outcome?

Shrimp Cult Press has made our choice. We are a pro-human company. We support human artists, their artwork, and their stories. Now it’s your turn.

If you want to do something right now to support artwork made by people, go buy someone’s prints or stickers or books! Go to a convention, meet an artist, and buy something of theirs that you love. Go follow some amazing artists on Cara. You can also buy these stickers and declare your support for a future where art is still made by people: Support Human-Made Art sticker

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