Can blockchain solve the ownership debacle over AI-generated art?
Web3 and new technologies have pushed the boundaries of art distribution, ownership and engagement with fans. However, not all recent developments are welcomed by the art community, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI).
Recently, AI-generated art has sparked a major debate over ownership after a smartphone app went viral, which created AI-generated portraits.
The debate surrounding the ownership of intellectual property rights (IP) is similar to those seen in the film and music industries. However, developers in the new tech space say blockchain technology could be a vehicle for artists and AI-generated content.
Cointelegraph spoke with Dan Neely, CEO of Vermillio, to better understand how these issues can be debugged in the future. Vermillio is an authenticated AI platform that connects the line of ownership.
Neely says authenticated AI introduces a system of automation and verification accessible to the public. In this case, anyone can verify ownership and lineage instead of relying on multiple third-party sources:
“This means not only because creators have to prove that a piece of content is their own, but because they have to authenticate the use of their digital creations.”
This falls in line with much of the outrage taking off on social media regarding AI-generated content. One artist posted a 6-tweet thread dissecting the artists vs. AI art movement, calling what’s happening “exploitation.”
1/6 I made this image for anyone to use wherever they want.
Ai creates the “art” you see on the backs of artists who are exploited. Ai “art” is currently scraping the web for art and applying it to datasets. No artist gave consent to have their art used. We were not compensated pic.twitter.com/eGn352MyCj
— Zakuga Mignon Art (@ZakugaMignon) 13 December 2022
Neely says that the art created through generative AI should not be a threat to original art, but rather they should exist side by side. Instead, he said, different markets will be created for man-made art and machine-made art. Nevertheless, the legitimate questions of ownership and authenticity must be taken seriously.
Related: What is the relationship between blockchain and Web3?
Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, is an active digital artist who has used new technologies to create high-value NFT (nonfugible token) collections. He also joined the conversation on Twitter around the AI art controversy with a new piece against the machine team.
THE BATTLE OF AI ART pic.twitter.com/ePSoXzb6fQ
— beeple (@beeple) 15 December 2022
Whether to call it a battle or a defining moment, Neely believes that creative industries are at a crossroads to make a choice. Advertising must either tolerate unauthorized third parties using generative AI or use new tools such as blockchain.
According to Neely, “technologies including AI and blockchain are used to allow third parties to purchase access to an authorized digital signature of training data that is digitally controlled by a creator.”
Authenticated AI can be one of the most important tools to allow creators to be the ones who bring order and justice to the generative AI content of the “Wild West” and the larger Web3 space.
Ultimately, the Web3 world depends on its creators to propel the space forward into the future of the internet. Neely highlights that authentication of AI and content ownership through blockchain will allow creators to play their part on their own terms:
“Creators want to take their work wherever they choose and share it with the communities they care about.”
As AI continues to be more public and pervasive in digital spaces, minimizing user suspicion surrounding the technology is key for many developers. Recently, some companies have even used AI-based technology to make metaverse designs available to creators.