Podcast #216: Algorithmic AI Art in RPGs

This week, Peter and Jessica talk about algorithmic “AI” generated art in RPGs. In the news, One D&D playtest larger than D&D Next, Fandom sells Cortex RPG to Dire Wolf Digital, new miniatures from WizKids, Sideshow Collectibles Tiamat statue, controversy with Spelljammer, and more! Plus a brand new sketch about the horror of getting a player to try another system. Subscribe on iTunes |...

This week, Peter and Jessica talk about algorithmic “AI” generated art in RPGs. In the news, One D&D playtest larger than D&D Next, Fandom sells Cortex RPG to Dire Wolf Digital, new miniatures from WizKids, Sideshow Collectibles Tiamat statue, controversy with Spelljammer, and more! Plus a brand new sketch about the horror of getting a player to try another system.

aiart.jpg


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News

Fandom Exiting RPG Business with Sale of Cortex Fandom Exiting RPG Business With Sale of Cortex

News Digest for the Week of September 2 (WizKids Classics Minis, Sideshow Tiamat Sculpture, Ultra PRO Dragonlance Accessories, Pathfinder Kit & Kaboomle Clothing Line) News Digest for the Week of September 2

Dungeon Delver’s Guide on Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/enworld/dungeon-delvers-guide-a-sourcebook-for-5e-and-a5e?

More People Test One D&D Origins Playtest Than D&D Next More People Test One D&D Origins Playtest Than D&D Next

Kickstarter notification page for Kit & Kaboomle Pathfinder clothing line https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/savagesparrow/kit-and-kaboomle-a-pathfinder-apparel-collection

PanzerLion on Twitter https://twitter.com/POCGamer

Stefan H. on Twitter https://twitter.com/Umbral_KnightX

Peter’s upcoming Kickstarter for One if by Land, Two if by Sea, Three if by Air https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/homebrewandhacking/one-if-by-land-two-if-by-sea-three-if-by-air

RPG Print News (Doctor Who 2nd Edition collector’s edition release) RPG Print News – Cubicle 7 and More

RPG Crowdfunding News RPG Crowdfunding News - The Thief & the Necromancer, Graveyard of the Gods, PEACEMAKER, and more

Graveyard of the Gods for D&D 5e and Pathfinder 2e on Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/matthewjhanson/graveyard-of-the-gods

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Algorithmic Art and RPGs

Kotaku “AI Creating ‘Art’ Is An Ethical And Copyright Nightmare” AI Creating 'Art' Is An Ethical And Copyright Nightmare

OneBookShelf/DriveThruRPG policy on “Third-Party Tool and AI-Generated Images” https://onebookshelfpublisherservic...ticles/227866467-Product-Standards-Guidelines

Into the Odd by Chris McDowall and graphic design by Johan Nohr Fria Ligan | Into the Odd

Note: The image for this week's episode was an algorithmically generated art piece which "won" an art competition https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/02/technology/ai-artificial-intelligence-artists.html

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Hosts: Russ “Morrus” Morrissey, Peter Coffey, and Jessica Hancock

Editing and post-production: Darryl Mott

Theme Song: Steve Arnott

Malach the Maleficent played by Darren Morrissey

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott


Technology has been replacing jobs since the dawn of time. It's coming for all of us. No one should be surprised or upset when they are replaced by a machine. How many machinist lost jobs to factory automation? How many book store clerks lost jobs to online bookstores? How many bank clerks to ATMs and online banking?

A lost artist job is no more sad than a batista being replaced by a coffee robot. Shoes used to be hand stitched, furniture carved and crafted, but we gave all that up for slightly cheaper prices and mass production. Why would we expect that not to happen to art?

I get the controversy but AI gives folks like me who can't draw the ability to create the images in our mind then good for it. technology marches on and our lives get easier.
 

Abstruse

Legend
Technology has been replacing jobs since the dawn of time. It's coming for all of us. No one should be surprised or upset when they are replaced by a machine. How many machinist lost jobs to factory automation? How many book store clerks lost jobs to online bookstores? How many bank clerks to ATMs and online banking?

A lost artist job is no more sad than a batista being replaced by a coffee robot. Shoes used to be hand stitched, furniture carved and crafted, but we gave all that up for slightly cheaper prices and mass production. Why would we expect that not to happen to art?

I get the controversy but AI gives folks like me who can't draw the ability to create the images in our mind then good for it. technology marches on and our lives get easier.
Except that there will be no new art.

Algorithms cannot create, they can only emulate. All this "art" isn't made by GLADoS and Wintermute sitting at easels, it's made by taking a database full of art made by human artists (in most cases without their permission or even their knowledge), metatagged and indexed, then remixed upon command based on the keywords entered.

The problem comes when this art is used to replace human artists. It's not going to affect big-name artists, sure, but every recent art school graduate and aspiring freelancer out there who makes their living on small commissions for corporate art, advertising, and yes, tabletop gaming will suddenly see their income dry up. Meaning they won't be able to afford to make any new art.

And when there's no one left to make any new art, where is the algorithm going to turn? How exactly is the algorithm going to evolve art when it's not even creating art in the first place but remixing the art of others?

Get a robot to spot weld or a machine to make espressos with a button push or an RFID scanner that automatically totals your purchase and bills your credit card as you leave the store and you're still going to have those services existing because they don't need to be created or evolved. Art does. And automation is only going to lead to stagnation.

And yes, I'm specifically avoiding the moral question of how do people make a living in a world where all jobs are automated because that's outside the scope of a tabletop gaming forum.
 

Except that there will be no new art.

Algorithms cannot create, they can only emulate. All this "art" isn't made by GLADoS and Wintermute sitting at easels, it's made by taking a database full of art made by human artists (in most cases without their permission or even their knowledge), metatagged and indexed, then remixed upon command based on the keywords entered.

I would argue there would be more new art. I can't paint; but if I can describe my image. If AI can produce it, then I can further work with the AI to refine it until it meets my expectations I just created art. Something I could do before. Millions of people like me who have visions but not talent are now capable of sharing that.

I get the technology is not there yet, but it will be and then art creation becomes more accessible for more people.

Automation creates more. We have more banks, more cars, more check out lines because of automation. It steals jobs but it make things more accessible.
 


JThursby

Adventurer
I would not assume the whole medium of illustration will stagnate and die because better automation tools are being created. Consumer and employer expectations are a moving target, not a static quantity. Think of it like this; even now, the idea that a semi-professional consumer like a GM could commission a homebrew world's worth of art assets would be absurd, unless said GM was willing to invest virtually all their income into the endeavor. In a few years time that may become much cheaper and an actual possibility. When the financial and skill barriers of a creative medium are reduced you see an explosion of creativity and original content. "Prosumer" grade tools like digital video editors and the Unity game engine have lead to massive amounts of film and game content being produced in the 21st century. I'm also not convinced that artists are going away because of these tools. Most people don't want randomly generated gobbledygook, they want what they get to be coherent and consistent. At the very least as these new tools develop artists will have to integrate ML-powered art generation curation into their skill set, but that's hardly being obsoleted as an entire job field.
 

Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
IMO, the advent of AI art represents a revolution no more and no less significant than the advent of photography. The creation of something truly new and imaginative still requires a human being. What we are experiencing right now are social growing pains to new technology--some of which is merely discomfort to change, some of which is actual harm. Some of what we are also seeing are disruptions to adaptations people have made against living in a fundamentally unjust economic system. People who are creative and productive shouldn't experience food and shelter insecurity---yet our economic situation puts us here.
 

Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
Also @Abstruse I feel like the articles selected on the matter of AI art aren't very balanced in opinion. The one by Kotaku is particularly negative and sensationalistic, and while adequately analytical it is narrow in the frame of discussion. It deserves to be counterbalanced by something equally as thoughtful of a different opinion/perspective. The articles offered present a skewed view, which creates the impression that it reflects the editor's personal opinion.
 

Waller

Legend
Also @Abstruse I feel like the articles selected on the matter of AI art aren't very balanced in opinion. The one by Kotaku is particularly negative and sensationalistic, and while adequately analytical it is narrow in the frame of discussion. It deserves to be counterbalanced by something equally as thoughtful of a different opinion/perspective. The articles offered present a skewed view, which creates the impression that it reflects the editor's personal opinion.
They’re podcast notes. He’s just listing the arty lies mentioned in the podcast. You need to listen to the show for the context.
 

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