WotC Updates D&D's AI Policy After YouTuber's False Accusations

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This awesome art by Nestor Ossandón is not AI

Following a YouTuber falsely accusing an artist who worked for WotC of using AI based on "something feeling off" in a widely watched (but now deleted) video, Wizards of the Coast has updated its AI policy.

For 50 years, D&D has been built on the innovation, ingenuity, and hard work of talented people who sculpt a beautiful, creative game. That isn't changing. Our internal guidelines remain the same with regards to artificial intelligence tools: We require artists, writers, and creatives contributing to the D&D TTRPG to refrain from using AI generative tools to create final D&D products. We work with some of the most talented artists and creatives in the world, and we believe those people are what makes D&D great.


The YouTuber in question is Taron Pounds, username 'Indestructoboy', and made his now deleted video because, in his words, 'something felt incredibly off'. He's an ENnie-winning game designer, and has since posted an apology on Twitter:

I contributed to "rage bait" content this year after the OGL situation. That's on me. If I was frustrated by a situation, I felt compelled to say something to the camera. That's just not okay. I bought in hard on the "anti-WotC" train and should have just put my energy elsewhere.


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Rage-bait videos are a problematic part of not just the D&D community, but on YouTube in general--as a massive Doctor Who fan, my YouTube feed is full of similar stuff about that show. The D&D stuff I see is overwhelmingly negative about how D&D is dying (it isn't, by the way). Unfortunately, that's what YouTube incentivises, and that's what gets the thousands of clicks: video thumbnails with big text, a controversial statement or question, probably a big shocked face, and a giant question mark or arrow, or maybe a jagged cartoony graph trending downwards. It's important to realise that just because that's what gets the clicks, it doesn't make it true. It is, however, a massive part of what drives the community narrative at the moment.

A shout-out should go to Christian Hoffer, who took the time to actually email the artist in question, who confirmed--with evidence--that the art was completely human generated. The YouTuber did not even make that basic step. You can read his report on Twitter here (and you should follow him if you're still on that site). The artist in question is Nestor Ossandón, who responded to Hoffer as follows.

First of all, I do not use artificial intelligence (NOT AI) for my work and no one but you and my director have asked me. And that image is completely painted. It is one of my favorite recent jobs that I have been able to do. And if you see other old works, you can see that my tendency is very similar when it comes to painting. I always play with warm and cold ones on my face. Thanks to the work together with the art director. They give me the freedom and appropriate time to develop it. This character is completely painted from scratch with a gray and superimposed color technique. Then I paint the cold tones to give atmosphere and light. It took me more than two weeks and my director was very happy with this work.


To be clear, Nestor Ossandón did not use AI to create the above art.

The artist provided proof (not that they should have to) which Hoffer posted on Twitter.

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There's not much real journalism that goes on in the tiny corner of the world that is the TTRPG industry; it’s still a niche topic, although it’s more popular than it’s ever been. I myself do not consider myself as such--I report on stuff, but I don't investigate stuff, and my contribution is not much more than simple reportage and aggregation (not that I undervalue that--I've been doing it for 24 years now, and folks still read it, and I recognise my own value!) Christian Hoffer (ComicBook.com), Lin Codega (laid off from iO9, but hopefully they will find a new outlet soon), Christopher Helton (retired) and other folks like that are great examples of journalism in this little industry. YouTube... there's a lot of great, informative, fun stuff on there, and there are folks I follow and enjoy, but you should be careful!

(Edit—I had some examples of video thumbnails here but I don’t want to give the impression they are related to this AI art episode.)
 

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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I think that’s a pretty reductionist and simplistic view of the situation.
It is. But it is an empowering one on the personal level. It is absolutely true that with some self awareness and a bit of technical education and personal discipline you can cultivate a healthier online experience for yourself. For me, I mostly just opt out. For those social media platforms I do use (LinkedIn, YouTube, and a few well-moderated discussion boards), I've managed to cultivate a much less toxic experience. But, yes, there are large societal challenges at play. While I'm of an age where I still have a knee-jerk distrust of governmental control over the Internet, I think some of legislative efforts and civil litigation in this area may be necessary and beneficial. But like alcohol and other drugs, this is an area where we as individuals have a great deal of personal power over if we take even a minimal amount of personal responsibility.
 

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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Agreed with everything you said, but to follow off of this a vit...this is a very bad tell for people to key off of at this point, since AI is able to emulate non-digital art formats pretty well at this point, so even "looking photoshopped" isn't going to be relevant for spotting AI work
Well, we are at the point where you can use AI along with robotics to create art with physical media. So, eventually, even having a painting on canvas is not going to mean it isn't AI generated.

And people have been using computer-assisted art tools for decades now to create effects in digital art that they don't have the skill to render in physical media. Where do we draw the line? Is a human artist using AI-assisted tools to create a piece of art "wrong" in all cases?

For example, I have used Chat GPT to help with some business writing. Generally, I'll give it a paragraph or several of something I've written and will ask it to give me other ways to write it. I may take some of the Chat GPT generated text and edit it and use it. I really see it as similar to reading many example of writing on a topic to inform my own writing, but much more time efficient. I have colleague who are non-native English speakers who use Chat GPT to help them write their resumes/CVs and cover letters. I have no problem with that.

I don't, however, like the idea of doing this with creative writing, but I realize the cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy in that thinking. I feel like there is a line not to cross but am unsure where to draw it.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Well, we are at the point where you can use AI along with robotics to create art with physical media. So, eventually, even having a painting on canvas is not going to mean it isn't AI generated.

And people have been using computer-assisted art tools for decades now to create effects in digital art that they don't have the skill to render in physical media. Where do we draw the line? Is a human artist using AI-assisted tools to create a piece of art "wrong" in all cases?

For example, I have used Chat GPT to help with some business writing. Generally, I'll give it a paragraph or several of something I've written and will ask it to give me other ways to write it. I may take some of the Chat GPT generated text and edit it and use it. I really see it as similar to reading many example of writing on a topic to inform my own writing, but much more time efficient. I have colleague who are non-native English speakers who use Chat GPT to help them write their resumes/CVs and cover letters. I have no problem with that.

I don't, however, like the idea of doing this with creative writing, but I realize the cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy in that thinking. I feel like there is a line not to cross but am unsure where to draw it.
For me, right now, the line is commercial usage. I goof around with AI art for entertainment, but wouldn't accept it in a product that would otherwise have paid artists. My memes aren't taking any jobs.

My workplace has a pretty strict no-AI rule, so that hasn't come up yet. Though we do use email templates.
 

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