February 4, 2023

Image for article titled Kickstarter suspends AI-generated image project (well, porn)

Image: Kickstarter

Until today, there had been an active Kickstarter campaign Unstable diffusiona project that describes itself as “a group that grew out of a local community’s effort to reject the restrictive rules of corporate AI companies”.

The campaign, which more than met its initial funding goals, said the pitch was:

This is to fund the development of open-source, community-first, AI models that will realize the dream of a billion people exploring and creating art using nothing but their imagination. This revolution in human expression will equate to the invention of the printing press or the Internet. AI that makes it possible everyone to make art.

While the Kickstarter campaign uses a lot of very careful language not to spell out real intent, you can read between the lines in sentences like the team complaining that “the last company to release open-source AI imagery models has succumbed to investor pressure and released a highly neutered version of their previous model”, and that their ethics guidelines say they “intend to exclude all children from our datasets to rule out the possibility of abuse using our API”.

In short, if TechCrunch report, these guys are frustrated that existing AI-generated image models don’t make good porn, so they want to build a community to help them do their job better. Now I’m not here to poop anyone’s kinks or desires for online content, we’re all adults here and everyone has their own things they love.

But porn or not, this is still AI-generated imagery, and given the protests currently going on ArtStationand with the wider controversy surrounding the field in general, Unstable diffusion landed at the right time to be the campaign to have Kickstarter look at their own policies on the matter.

The crowdfunding platform has yet to release clear guidelines, stating “we navigate through some really tricky and undefined areas at times,” but the company did release a statement suggesting that, at least for now, they “on the side of creative work and the people behind that work”.

Here is that statement in full:

I want to share some of our thoughts on artificial intelligence (AI) generated images and AI art as it evolves, as many creators on Kickstarter are understandably concerned about its impact on the creative community.

At Kickstarter, we often have projects that are innovative and push the boundaries of what’s possible. And that means that we sometimes navigate very difficult and undefined areas.

We’ve been engaged for the past few days Community Advisory Board and we have read your feedback to us through our team and social media. And one thing is clear: Kickstarter must and always will be on the side of creative work and the people behind that work. We’re here to help creative work thrive.

As we look at what’s happening in the creative ecosystem and on our platform, here are some things we’re considering when it comes to the place AI image generation software and AI-generated art should have on Kickstarter, if any:

– Does a project copy or imitate an artist’s work? We should not only consider whether a work has a clear copyright claim, but also assess situations where it’s not so clear – where images owned or created by others might not On a Kickstarter project page, but its in the training data through which the AI ​​software is used in the project, without the knowledge, attribution or permission of creators.

– Does a project abuse a particular community or endanger someone? We need to consider the intent behind projects, sometimes beyond their purpose as stated on our platform. Our rules prohibit projects that promote discrimination, intolerance, or bigotry against marginalized groups, and we often make decisions to protect the health and integrity of Kickstarter.

This technology is really new and we don’t have all the answers. The decisions we make now may not be the decisions we make in the future, so we want this to be an ongoing conversation with all of you. You can share your thoughts by writing to suggestions@kickstarter.com as we continue to develop our approach to using AI software and images on our platform.

That statement was released at the same time Unstable diffusion campaign is suspended (with all backers refunded). It’s important to note that while this post is mainly about the general idea of ​​AI-generated imagery, the mentions of harm seem to be about specific criticisms of Unstable diffusion:

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