0272 - Dragons - 2022.12.19



AI art is a hot topic right now (at least, among my fellow artists), and one of the big problems with it is that most of these algorithms pull their "inspiration" directly from a Google image search with little concern for IP rights. There have even been cases of the AI-wranglers typing in prompts for art in the style of specific artists, and the algorithm obliges, turning out jpegs in that artist's style, complete with a garbled signature at the bottom corner.

(Yes, the AIs can't handle text or backgrounds or hands... YET. Pointing at their current limitations and scoffing that they'll never take the place of human artists because they don't know how anatomy works is kind of like boasting that cars will never replace horses because the rudimentary automobile you're currently looking at is slower than a horse. Give it time.)

Of course, humans pull their inspiration from other artists as well - try as you might, you can't create in a vacuum, you can only hope to absorb enough varied material that your output looks like something new. In art, as in science, we stand on the shoulders of giants. One can clearly see the influence of Dragonball and Sailor Moon on Steven Universe, for example, but few would call the latter plagiarized.

What if you could trace the inspiration directly, though? Ever since Operation Slit Throat, AIs in Forward aren't black boxes of inscrutable machine learning - they're required to be able to show how and why they come up with the ideas that they do. If we could open up Rebecca Sugar's brain and trace the specific neural pathway from Goku to Steven, would we still call it "inspiration"?


0272 - 2167/07/07/02:19 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, bedroom
Zoa: Okay, I've got it.
LC: Mmhmm?
Zoa: I mentioned that there were dragons, yes? Classic kerfuffle. An evil dragon kidnaps Princex Loa GHS-era, and Zee has to save them.
LC: Sweet, loving it. What's the dragon's name?
Zoa: Uh...... problem. No more names available.
LC: What do you mean, no names available?
Zoa: I mean, my remaining human-readable options here are "Lea" or "Zoe", and both of those are already common names in the real world.
LC: You don't have to just remix "Lee" and "Zoa", Zoa, you can use any other names you know.
Zoa: I actually can't. I don't have access to use other people's names in my own products, even as a remix thing. There's a digital trail of where I get the idea from, and if I use the syllable "Cay" from "Caleb", I'd have to pay Mezzer Paratta royalties.
LC: What about public domain names? No royalties for Socrates.
Zoa: .....huh. Yeah, I guess I can do that.
Zoa: So the evil dragon is named... Stragalaxex Trellexaparret Ghagagganda Wherrivex Mindibreshtar Rheddikack.
LC: Stragalex for short, sure. What's it look like?
Zoa: I have absolutely no idea.