Tuesday, February 27, 2024

AI generates ire of families duped over Wonka themed event (updated 3.4.24)

AI generated images were used to sell pricey tickets for a family-friendly "immersive Wonka experience” in Scotland. The actual event was a sparsely decorated warehouse with “a ball pit and a single oompah loompah.”According to news reports, parents were so incensed they called the police.

update 2/29/24 -- This article covers some of the AI obfuscations. It includes interviews with some of the actors who describe "AI" written scripts. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/willy-wonka-inspired-chocolate-experience-outrage-rcna140726

The next 3 pics are screenshots from the website that sold the tickets...

Update 3.4.24 -- This You Tuber summaries the event and includes online clips from the performers as well as attendees giving more insights into the chaos. 

When you see AI being used to sell products -- use your critical thinking skills before your credit card.

Beware of social media pages showcasing fantastical decor items. The furnishings advertised do not exist in real life. But the comments threads for these posts confirm people do not realize these are fakes. 

Sites that post only AI deception generate tons of “likes and shares." They also set up the public for scams like the Wonka experience.

Learn how to spot AI clues... tips in these links:




The Facebook page "AI Spotting" posts informative tutorials.

Don’t buy .. or “like and share”… what is being sold by AI generated images.  They are fakery built on theft.

Here are links for news reports about the Wonka experience:



And more images of the event.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Protecting Artists from AI Technologies -- Year 2 -- Concept Art Association

Concept Art Association (CAA) https://www.conceptartassociation.com/about 

continues to be on the front lines of this vital fight. Raising awareness. Pushing for accountability. Protecting creative rights for all of us. The artists are the canaries in the coal mine. We need to heed the warnings. Last year, this fundraising effort helped get artists to the US Senate to testify.  Raising awareness at national and local levels is vital... and expensive.

Here are some excerpts from the CAA year 2 Go Fund Me campaign.

"We cannot believe how quickly this year has gone and we are getting close to our one-year anniversary of launching this GoFundMe. The support you have all shown to get us here and have continued to show us is incredible. With that said let's get going on year two!

We have learned a lot in the last 9 months and have a good idea of where your money is best spent, and where we perhaps need a little more or a little less. When we did our budget for year one we wanted to be very transparent and very thoughtful with our spending and we intend to continue this transparency and thoughtfulness for year two. But before we share with you our year two budget we thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you the highlights of what we have been able to achieve together as a result of this gofundme campaign:

1. In March we hosted a one-day virtual event bringing together creators of all types from around the world to discuss generative AI and what it means for their industries and how we could find ways of uniting and working together.

2. Concept Art Association (CAA) jumped into the Washington, DC landscape immediately by joining forces with fellow intellectual property organizations. CAA became a member of the Copyright Alliance (https://copyrightalliance.org/) as well as the Digital Creators Coalition (https://www.digitalcreatorscoalition.org/). In addition, due to relationships, CAA was included early in the formation of the Human Artistry Campaign (https://www.humanartistrycampaign.com/). As such, CAA’s lobbyist was able to suggest the inclusion of “creators” into the seven principles of the Human Artistry Campaign and thus, then become an early member. CAA is now the first organization to be co-hosting an event with HAC of their 140-plus members on the Hill next month.

3. CAA’s lobbyist was asked to join other creator groups such as the Authors Guild, theSongwriters Guild, Graphic Artist Guild, Society of Composers and Lyricists, and ASCRL to participate on behalf of Concept Art Association in AI meetings with the following Congressional Offices: Ted Lieu, Judy Chu, Jim Jordan, Darrell Issa, Michael McCaul, Tony Cardenas and Senators Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, Chris Coons, Lindsey Graham, Dick Durbin and Martin Heinrich.

4. As part of its AI initiative, the United States Copyright Office hosted a series of four AI Listening Sessions on artificial intelligence. Due to introduction and outreach on behalf of CAA, CAA Board Member, Karla Ortiz as well as CAA member, Matthew Cunningham were invited to participate in the session and made excellent and persuasive presentations. (https://www.copyright.gov/ai/agenda/2023-Visual-Arts-Agenda.pdf).

5. Prior to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s release of the SAFE Innovation Initiative Framework on Artificial Intelligence, CAA’s lobbyist was invited to join a small subset of IP industry advocates in DC to speak with Senator Schumers’s key senior staff leading the initiative. As a result of that meeting, CAA’s lobbyist was able to set up a private call for CAA’s team to meet virtually with Senator Schumer’s team to discuss the specific impact of generative AI on concept artists. At those meetings, creators urged the Majority Leader to protect creators as he and his colleagues look at all the vast aspects and impacts of AI on this country. Majority Leader Schumer and his co-chairman Senator Mike Rounds listened to our and other creators’ pleas and included specific protection for creators in the “Accountability” section of his five central policy objectives. It reads, “support our creators by addressing copyright concerns, protect intellectual property, and address liability.” This was a huge success for creators. We have stayed in close touch with the Schumer team and hope to be included in one of their future meetings. For more on this initiative: https://www.democrats.senate.gov/news/press-releases/majority-leader-schumer-delivers-remarks-to-launch-safe-innovation-framework-for-artificial-intelligence-at-csis

6. As part of CAA’s first Washington, DC “Fly-In”, the Concept Art Association team, led by lobbyist Cindi Merifield, met with the following Congressional offices: Rep. Michael McCaul, House AI Caucus Co-Chairman; Rep. Don Beyer, leading AI expert; Rep. Ted Lieu, House Judiciary Member/House Science Committee Member; Chief IP Counsel, House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Darrell Issa; Senator Martin Heinrich, Senate AI Caucus Co-Chairman; Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and IP Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons (rescheduled for virtual meeting the following week.)

7. CAA’s lobbyist also set up a meeting for the CAA team with Shira Perlmutter, Register, US Copyright Office (USCO) and her senior staff (including General Counsel, Chief of Staff, Public Liaison and other key senior executives) to make a presentation on the impact of generative AI on concept artists and to discuss potential remedies and ways that the Copyright Office can protect creators.

8. The CAA Washington DC team attended (in person) the first House Judiciary Committee AI hearing entitled: Part I-Interoperability of AI and Copyright Law, and were able to meet and speak with Members of Congress, staff, witnesses, and other copyright industry stakeholders.

9. CAA’s DC Lobbyist hosted an IP Stakeholders meeting at a local restaurant on Capitol Hill for the CAA team to meet and form relationships with other creator and IP groups working toward Congressional action Generative AI on the creative community.

10. On the last evening of the “Fly-In”, CAA hosted an event, “Artists in Action,” in one of the House Congressional office buildings on Capitol Hill. Approximately 80 Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and other Washington IP stakeholders observed artists Karla Ortiz, Matthew Cunningham, and Steven Zapata showcase their work while educating the Members and staff about the challenges concept artists face in the world of generative AI. Rachel, Nicole, and CAA’s Lobbyist were able to speak to numerous Members and staff and followed up after the event to answer questions and to grow the relationships.

11. Politico, the leading newspaper on Capitol Hill and throughout DC, covered CAA’s fly-in with this blurb: — The Concept Art Association, which represents artists working in entertainment, will wrap up a two-day fly-in with a demonstration from artists from the Avengers and Star Trek franchises. The fly-in, which coincides with a House hearing today on AI and copyright law, focused on discussions about preserving artists’ intellectual property online. IP lobbyist Cindi Merifield of R2P Strategies is coordinating the push.

12. CAA’s lobbyist set up an additional meeting with Rep. Ted Lieu’s office in advance of his introduction of legislation establishing an AI Commission. During that call and in follow-up, the CAA team gave the following suggestions to the Lieu office: 1) that AI companies not dominate the Commission in terms of seats; 2) that creators get a seat at the table, and 3) that IP rights must be respected. Rep. Lieu’s office listened to our suggestions and included language that limited the amount of seats of any industry could have on the Commission and required that the creative community be represented on the Commission.

13. As a result of meetings and conversations with IP Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons, CAA Board Member, Karla Ortiz, was invited to be one of five panelists to testify before the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee at a hearing entitled, “Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property-Part II: Copyright.” Karla’s testimony and participation on the panel well-received by Members and staff and others in the intellectual property community. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/artificial-intelligence-and-intellectual-property_part-ii-copyright

14. At the request of CAA Board Member, Karla Ortiz, CAA’s lobbyist set up a virtual meeting with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which has jurisdiction over unfair and deceptive trade practices and other competition and fairness issues in the marketplace, to discuss the dangers that generative AI poses to the creative community. CAA met with the Acting Director of Privacy and ID Protections and his team and had a robust and productive conversation.

15. The FTC later hosted a Roundtable including the three sitting FTC Commissioners, entitled the “Creative Economy and Generative AI.” The FTC invited Karla Ortiz, representing herself as a concept artist as well as Steven Zappatta, representing CAA, to participate on a panel with other outstanding creator groups and unions to discuss generative AI. Both Steven and Karla were extremely well-received and the event was deemed by many in Washington as one of the most productive AI discussions to date. More on the event: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events/2023/10/creative-economy-generative-ai

16. We are working with CVL Economics to put together a report on the Early Impacts of Artificial Intelligence on the Creative Industries. The Animation Guild, National Cartoonist Foundation, and Human Artistry Campaign are all working with CAA to commission this research report for policymakers.

17. We hosted several virtual educational sessions for the community, including how to register your copyright, what is in your work-for-hire contract, negotiating your work-for-hire contract and a town hall with professional artists on how to mitigate anxiety as you embark upon your art career in these uncertain times.

18. We launched an Instagram account to provide more information and resources to the community, @aimlmediaadvocacy

And these are just the highlights! We should all be so proud of what we have been able to accomplish in D.C. This brings us right up to date with news on our second fly-in to D.C. in November. We are excited to build on all the relationships for our first visit in May as well as virtual meetings we have had since. We will be meeting with more Members of Congress and their staff, the US Copyright Office, the USPTO, the FTC, and others while in Washington.

We are very excited to share that CAA will be co-hosting an event with the Human Artistry Campaign during our visit to Washington D.C. and will showcase musical artists, concept artists, and visual development artists. The reception will draw hundreds of Members of Congress, Congressional staff, Administration officials, The US Copyright Office, The Patent Trademark Office, and the IP Community in DC. This will be a huge opportunity for CAA to reach another level of influence in Washington, one that usually takes many years, even decades to accomplish, if groups ever do reach the level.

And with that being said we really hope to continue this journey into 2024 and hope we have your support for year two...."

"January 31st, 2024

by Concept Art Association, Organizer

It’s been a few months since we last updated you all. We know a lot of you are struggling right now financially and mentally and you might be feeling a little fed up but we really appreciate you continuing to support our efforts, either through additional donations or by sharing the campaign with the community. We love you all.

Unfortunately, we have some bad news. As of tomorrow, February 1st we will no longer have our D.C. lobbyist as we have been unable to continue to fundraise at the level that we did last year. However, we have learned a lot over the past 18 months and feel confident with that while we might not be able to return to D.C. anytime soon, we have also decided to use what funds we have to send a small group to Sacramento, California to speak to legislators up there and see what we can achieve at the state level. There is some movement federally centering around transparency, likeness and voice protections and FTC inquiries, but we’re confident that the state level has the potential to move much faster."

Learn more about the Year 2 campaign here https://www.gofundme.com/f/37grdj9ofc?utm_campaign=p_lico%20share-sheet&utm_medium=

More on Year 1 here and the artists at the Senate (July 2023) here:



Monday, February 19, 2024

Normalizing AI generated images/video is dangerous for all of us (updated 3.1.24)

 Can you spot the clues?? What do you really see here? 

Art is a learning process. Learning to draw means really looking at what you are seeing. Finding the visual signals that will translate and make the picture seem like a "real" tree, horse, car etc. Being able to draw well is about seeing as much as drafting skills. 

This image is just one example of a recent trend. Facebook has many pages with generic names that cater to shared interests. They easily attract a following. Their posts used to be a re-shares of photos and news stories. Now, these pages are producing AI generated images that proliferate via their followers feeds. Sometimes these AI generated images are photo montages that have the tag line "perfect shot" or something similar. There is never a photographer credit or source listed. Sometimes these AI generated images carry a "credit" that is the name/logo of the Facebook page. (see lower left in detail below)

Why are credits important? Credits help fans trace images back to the source. Credits help artists expand their fan base. Artists post their art to expand their audience. Too often, their images get shared with the credits lopped off. Even watermarks get diluted. Always look for credits. Use them to search online to verify the source. Credits can help establish that artWORK is genuine. Here's an image that was posted on a shared interests Facebook page:

The image had the artist, title, and medium. There is the artist's credit on the lower right, as well as a website address. The comments thread for this post had some concerns that this might be an AI generated image. This was likely due to the extreme anatomy of the dogs and the pseudo-historical portrait vibe of the work. However, an online search quickly verified the work. And the artist himself even chimed in to authenticate his art. You can find this painting on this gallery website. https://havengallery.com/portfolio/omar-rayyan-various-and-sundry/ And see more of Rayyan's work here https://www.studiorayyan.com/

Credits matter. Look for them. Really look at what you see online.

When it comes to AI generated images -- where is the transparency? 

AI generated images are NOT art. They are not created by artists. They are only possible due to datasets built on stolen images, taken without consent, credit or compensation. When fans share these AI generated images... because it is a "fun" picture of animals or whatever the common interest its... they actually amplify the harm done to artists. 

We are all at risk when plagiarism like this is normalized. 

Some clues that confirm AI generated images -- lack of anatomical proportion within the figure.. or between figures.. or between the subject and the landscape. Missing anatomy (sometimes limbs vanish into the background or the costume/furnishings). A generic, doll-like quality to faces. Or "cherub" looking infants/children. An overall soft-focus look to the image that blurs details (often covering areas that the algorithm can't quite reconcile). 

Update 2.25.24 -- The Facebook page "AI Spotting" shares excellent tutorials on deciphering AI Images. Here are a few samples from that page.

Update 3.1.24 This is 40 minute video "AI vs Artists" is from the You Tube channel "Yes, I am a Designer." It's an outstanding tutorial on the mechanics and ethics of AI images. It’s not just the artists who are at risk from the normalization and proliferation of generated images. These only exist due to artWORK taken without consent, credit or compensation. Here are some of the artists and colleagues interviewed in this video --

Ben Y Zhao - Jon Lam - Patrick Brown -Steven Zapata - Samdoesarts - Bobby Chiu - Grzegorz Domaradzki - Levente Szabo - Scott Eaton - JazzaDraws - Kirsten Zirngibl

This 8.23.23 Facebook post by Pennsylvania based artist Andy Gertler (Owner at All Natural Arts https://allnaturalarts.com/ and Pumpkin SculptUSA. Sculptor at Sand Sculpt USA) gives insights we all need to heed, along with this photo case study:

"So, there's an issue unfolding in the world that many people don't quite grasp and that's the impact of Ai.

A friend innocently sent me the photo above, which I could immediately tell was generated by Ai. However, not everyone can distinguish this, and therein lies the danger. (For clarity, I've marked "AI" on the photo.)

People are seeing these miraculous sculptures or drawings and not give it a second thought as to if it's real or not. What's going to happen is everyone will be conditioned by seeing unrealistic work (because you can't carve a watermelon to look like that, it's just not possible) and when someone actually sees one of the best watermelon carvings by the best human watermelon carver on the planet, they won't be impressed because they've been fooled and conditioned by Ai. This diminishes real (flesh and blood) artists.

I urge you all to be more critical when observing art. Many artists can quickly determine whether a piece is Ai-generated or created by a human. Currently, there's a specific look to these drawings, paintings, sculptures and they almost have an uncanny valley effect.  As AI technology advances, it's likely to become even more deceptive.

So, please, for the sake of human artists, look with a discerning eye and don't share Ai."

Here is a link to a Feb 5, 2024 essay by David Farrier on the dangers of accepting so much artificiality as reality. https://www.webworm.co/p/losingreality

Do we really want to risk just accepting what we see. Examples like this next one may seem funny now.... but can be a cautionary tale for where normalizing what the AI suggests can take us...

Another warning is in this excerpt from a March 2023 NY Times Op-Ed https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/08/opinion/noam-chomsky-chatgpt-ai.html

Look at these next two images ... what do you see? Which one is real? How could you verify?

(update 2.23.24) AI generated video images are even more dangerous.. This 2.21.24 PBS Newshour segment explains why:

(update 2.25.24) Wall Street Journal clip on how to spot AI-generated videos

More on deciphering AI in these posts on the blog:




Lightbox Expo "Create Don't Scape" panel on Glaze now on You Tube, plus link on Nightshade

Nightshade has arrived! This link is from University of Chicago... the best resource for info on Glaze and Nightshade. These tools have been developed by the team at University of Chicago.


The Oct 2023 Lightbox Expo panel on Glaze was recorded before the release of Nightshade, but does mention it. (art below credited as STEPHANIE ARNETT/MITTR | REIJKSMUSEUM, ENVATO in this article https://www.technologyreview.com/2023/10/23/1082189/data-poisoning-artists-fight-generative-ai/)

The Lightbox Expo panel also discusses the public resources and university grants that fund the development of Glaze and Nightshade at University of Chicago.

A few weeks ago, Lightbox Expo posted this Oct 2023 panel recording on their You Tube channel. This panel includes an early discussion of Nightshade.. which is the next level in protection for artists who post art online.

The Oct 2023 panel above references this Concept Art Association Town Hall about AI from Aug 2023

More info on AI here on the blog: