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Reasons for Manual Image Editing over Generative AI

Accepted submission by canopic jug at 2024-03-26 05:01:48 from the not-welcoming-our-corporate-overlords dept.
Digital Liberty

Dr Andy Farnell at The Cyber Show [] writes about motivations behind dropping use of generative AI for graphics and moving back to manual design and editing of images. The show had been using generative AI to produce images since its first episode, but now find that it is time to rethink that policy. As the guard rails for generative AI are set up and the boundaries restricted, it gets more racist, more gendered, and less able to output edgy ideas critical of its corporate owners and its potential as an equalizing force seems dead already. So, while the show could set up its own AI instance to generate the images they desire, there is the matter of association and the decision to stop using it has been made.

Doubts emerged late last year after Helen battled with many of the generative platforms to get less racist and gendered cultural assumptions. We even had some ideas for an episode about baked bias, but other podcasters picked up on that and did a fine job of investigating and explicating.

Though, maybe more is still to be said. With time I've noticed the "guardrails" are staring to close in like a pack of dogs. The tools seem ever less willing to output edgy ideas critical of corporate gangsters. That feels like a direct impingement on visual art culture. Much like most of the now enshitified internet [] there seems to be an built-in aversion to humour, and for that matter to hope, love or faith in the future of humaity. The "five giant websites filled with screenshots of text from the other four" are devoid of anything human.

Like the companies that make them, commercial AI tools seem to have blind-spots around irony, juxtaposition and irreverence. They have no chutzpah. Perhaps we are just bumping into the limits of machine creativity in its current iteration. Or maybe there's a "directing mind", biasing output toward tepid, mediocre "acceptability". That's not us!

As Schneier writes [];

"The increasingly centralized control of AI is an ominous sign. When tech billionaires and corporations steer AI, we get AI that tends to reflect the interests of tech billionaires and corporations, instead of the public."

Of course we have the technical chops to put a few high end graphics cards in a rack and run our own uncensored models. But is that a road we want to go down? Do we want to adopt the technology of the enemy when it might turn out to be their greatest weakness, and our humanity our greatest strength?

The Cyber Show is a long-form, English language podcast based in the UK which does deep dives into information communication technology, how it effects society, and various aspects of those effects [].

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