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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To each their own, but I think you are making a distinction in what I said that simply isn’t there, and making a mountain out of a molehill. I don’t appreciate being called out in the manner you did over something so inconsequential as well. Have a good evening, happy holidays.
Sorry you feel I replied to your post inappropriately. Happy Holidays to you as well.
I think that’s a pretty reductionist and simplistic view of the situation.
Absolutely it is. And details matter.
But is the idea wrong? It seems to me if the conversation started with the root cause (human behavior) we could progress constructively from there. But starting at a point that is... not accurate (?) is a poor place to begin to discuss an issue.
 

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A) The way the left arm connects to the shield. But we've all see artists struggle with this sort of thing, and sometimes if we do art ourselves, we've struggled with it - I know without a life model, I struggle with that sort of thing hugely.
I noticed one of the earlier stages does show a hand behind the shield, but seeing as how it was awkwardly cut off with only half or less of it visible. It's one of those things that might be "why bother" showing if only the bumps of the knuckles are going to be shown.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Absolutely it is. And details matter.
But is the idea wrong? It seems to me if the conversation started with the root cause (human behavior) we could progress constructively from there. But starting at a point that is... not accurate (?) is a poor place to begin to discuss an issue.
I don't think it is particularly accurate, no. Not in a meaningful way, anyway. Of the actors in this dynamic, the individual viewer has the least power--blaming the party with the least power seems very misdirected to me.

The party with the most power is YouTube. Then it's the YouTubers. Then it's the viewers.

Generally speaking, when power filters down a pyramid to the masses at the bottom, whether that's YouTube viewers, politics, religion, corporate structures, or anything else with similarly pyramidal structure, one should eyeball the top of the pyramid, not the bottom.
 

jgsugden

Legend
...But is the idea wrong? It seems to me if the conversation started with the root cause (human behavior) we could progress constructively from there. But starting at a point that is... not accurate (?) is a poor place to begin to discuss an issue.
Wrong can mean many things. Here, I'm going to say that an approach that would be ineffective and would fail at what it attempted would be wrong - so yes, this is wrong.

Why do we need laws? Why can't we just explain what is in the public benefit and have everyone realize, agree and do what is best without a law that forces them do something? Why have we spent thousands of years building up these detailed series of laws when we can just get people to be better?

Because people freaking suck. Some of us suck because we only care for ourselves. Others of us suck because we care about others - but only because we want people to see us caring about others so we can get credit for it. Others suck because we're friggin idiots and do not understand the damage we cause with tour bull%$@. The reasons we suck are too numerous to name, honestly - but it is clear we suck. From war, to exploitation, to so many horrible things ... the one undeniable truth about people is we suck.

And to be honest, I think that is true of every person in this world. In one way or another, from one perspective or another, we all suck - and we all cause too much harm.

So the idea that we'll fix the people to fix the systemic issue that takes advantage of the people sucking ... it has been tried for millenia and it doesn't work. It is a battle we should fight because we can make things better by fighting it - but it is a battle we must expect to lose. And if we realize there will always be %$@#fisted @$#%headed &@#%filled people in this world - we realize we need to implement things to stop them from stinging our froggy hides while we take them across the river.

However, we may not always be able to cut down the bad behavior. When it comes to this whole AI thing I think we will have to accept that AI will learn from sources that will go uncompensated. There are too many loopholes to close ... and we allow people to do it. I'm allowed to learn to paint by watching Bob Ross. Why not let an AI learn too? Why can't it look at anything publicly available and learn just ike people do? There are obvious reasons ... but at the core, that argument will be there and in the end will win.
 

I don't think it is particularly accurate, no. Not in a meaningful way, anyway. Of the actors in this dynamic, the individual viewer has the least power--blaming the party with the least power seems very misdirected to me.

The party with the most power is YouTube. Then it's the YouTubers. Then it's the viewers.

Generally speaking, when power filters down a pyramid to the masses at the bottom, whether that's YouTube viewers, politics, religion, corporate structures, or anything else with similarly pyramidal structure, one should eyeball the top of the pyramid, not the bottom.
Good point.
So, I think we can look at the top of the pyramid in two perspectives. 1) motivation & 2) control.

What's the motivation? Money. And they use human behavior to maximize their money. Just like the creators do. How do you change the motivation of the platform? And should corporations not focus on profit/money? Two distinct questions.

First one, I think the primary way to change a platform's motivation is to change there profitability or to get the leaders/board/shareholders to change their goals by not prioritize money. Two ways to change profitability; government regulation (restrictions, taxes, fines, etc), and consumer action. I'm proposing consumer action. Because I don't like government regulation in capitalism and consumer free choice. I can't think of any other way to change a corporation's motivation. (Let's leave goals for below)

So other than motivation, that leaves control, and only the corporation leadership (et al) or government regulation can do those two things. back to two things again. Government regulation is supposed to occur to protect the citizens, and can therefore be at the behest of consumer action. And to address both motivation and control via the corporate leadership; both of those generally only come about through consumer action.

Now, throw in the challenge of international regulations an governments. You not only have to get your government to do something, but you have to get a bunch of them from all over the world to do it. Though impacts have been made, we still don't have comprehensive privacy worldwide, how are we going to do something much more complex like platform algorithms?

So, it really seems to me that change is primarily achievable by consumer action. Some possibilities of this are;
  • Protests & boycotts
  • Pleading for government involvement
  • unsavory and illegal activities I will not discuss

This leads me to the simplified conclusion that if we want algorithms to change we need to change our behavior (i.e. boycott click bait). Sure, it would be great if we had a magical mystical do-gooder worldwide government who did everything for us and never got it wrong. But that just doesn't exist.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I'm allowed to learn to paint by watching Bob Ross. Why not let an AI learn too? Why can't it look at anything publicly available and learn just ike people do? There are obvious reasons ... but at the core, that argument will be there and in the end will win.
Because that's not how AI works.

It doesn't learn. It uses math to to take parts of its data set and use those parts to complete a request.

It's not learning techniques from Bob Ross and applying them to what it wants, its cutting up all of Bob Ross's paintings and clipping them together into a ransom note-style collage without any intent to make a collage.
 

Why do we need laws? Why can't we just explain what is in the public benefit and have everyone realize, agree and do what is best without a law that forces them do something? Why have we spent thousands of years building up these detailed series of laws when we can just get people to be better?
Laws don't work either. This world we live in is no longer run by the government we put in to govern us. The laws of my state and country are not the only ones that impact me on a daily basis. EU privacy laws do. Chinese tariff laws do. Laws from numerous nations impact me on a weekly if not daily basis.

Laws will simply fail because we won't be able to get common laws in enough of the key countries to achieve it.
we realize we need to implement things to stop them from stinging our froggy hides while we take them across the river.
We do. And either we can try to accomplish this through numerous governments world-wide, or through our own behavior. Neither is likely to work. But which one can you control more?

And perhaps more importantly, which one can bring near immediate health benefits to you? Boycotting click baiters :)
 

Because that's not how AI works.

It doesn't learn. It uses math to to take parts of its data set and use those parts to complete a request.

It's not learning techniques from Bob Ross and applying them to what it wants, its cutting up all of Bob Ross's paintings and clipping them together into a ransom note-style collage without any intent to make a collage.
No, that's not what generative AI does.

AI detects patterns in random visual noise that resembles what the user requested, then repeats the process.
 



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