While the debate around the “art” of AI continues to rage on sites like ArtStation, Twitter, and Reddit (and likely in the comments below this article), it is already being used in commercial projects. More recently, Justin Roiland of Squanch Games and rick and morty fame has confirmed that his new project, the comic first person shooter Raised on lifeused a machine learning algorithm to create posters and even a voice performance.
so called AI art has quickly become a hot topic among online artists and creators because it has become easier than ever to type a few words and retrieve detailed (and sometimes even beautiful) digital images. AI art isn’t really art as we commonly define it, because it wasn’t created by humans and is just a mess of digital bits ripped from existing images – often without permission from the original artists – who are arranged in a way that kind of looks like something a human artist might create. And in a world where it’s harder than ever for artists to make a living, AI art has the potential to destroy many lives, careers, and futures. In response, AI tech bros and their associated weirdos say, “lol okay boomer, keep it up!” Now the technology has been used in a video game and… I’m so sick of being tired of it all.
In an interview with Sky NewsJustin Roiland confirmed that his studio Squanch Games used the AI art tool Midjourney AI during Raised on lifeproduction to add some “finishing touches” to the world. Although not directly confirmed in the interview, people on Reddit spotted many in-game posters which appear to have been created using AI art tools. (You can tell because they look like the “person” who made them has no idea what a human being or printed words look like.)
“It makes the world feel like a weird alternate universe of our world,” Roiland explained to Sky News. “And we used it to come up with weird and fun ideas.”
Roiland said that most of the art in Raised on life is handcrafted by people. But it also sucks that we’re living in a timeline where that’s even something you have to confirm; that your game art was created by people and not by a text prompt. Additionally, lead designer Erich Meyr said Sky News that they used AI to prototype character voices, and that a “minor” role in the game actually remained voiced by AI.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but AI is going to be a tool that has the potential to make content creation incredibly accessible,” Roiland continued. “I don’t know how many years away we are, but all you need to be is someone with big ideas.”
Unaware that Roiland states that AI is used to come up with ideas and is also for people with ideas, I’m disappointed to see AI art infecting video games so quickly. But I’m not surprised. The video game industry has long treated its artists as machines that can run for 14 hours a day for weeks at a time. And developers or artists are rarely paid fairly. It is therefore obvious that game studios and publishers will be among the first to replace workers with algorithms and various tools enabled by “AI” as quickly as possible.
Sure, some will jump into the comments to explain that the AI art is really awesome, the people creating it using prompts are artists, and the automation is just part of it. natural to civilization and technology. And to these people, I say, “Come on, really? Go on.”
Look, if we lived in a world where universal basic incomes were common, medicine and food were free, and we had safety nets in place to make sure everyone could live a happy, healthy life, I would be more ok with the art of AI and similar tools potentially replacing traditional careers and jobs. But this is not the case. Until that happens, more automation will lead to more people struggling to survive. Technology’s onward march can be hard to stop, but that doesn’t mean it’s universally correct, ethically sound, or something we should just let go. Even if you truly believe that “AI-created art” is good, that still doesn’t mean we have to accept the immense toll it will take on living humans as our future.