Artifacts, culture and plagiarism Seth’s Blog

AI is here, and it will (or will soon) be able to draw, code, or write more efficiently than most of us.

It is tireless, very fast and very cheap.

Understandably, some creator has a hand. They say that if an AI is trained on their photographs, their architectural designs or their cartoons, it’s a plagiarism.

This does not hold.

If an art student studies 10,000 paintings by Picasso and then creates a new painting that is clearly based on them, we call this a cultural breakthrough. The same is true if an author uses a word coined by Shakespeare, or if a graffitist is clearly inspired by Shepard’s Fairy.

This is how culture develops. Taking ideas is not stealing. Accepting an idea is an oxymoron. We all have ideas.

We couldn’t and wouldn’t do it any other way. There is no way to bake a cake, drive a car or write a sentence without using what came before.

GPT and other AI tools don’t really do that i know Something. They are pattern matchers and pattern extenders. And those patterns are called culture.

(Aside: there is a difference between copyright and trademark. Copyright is a small carve-out to protect the actual craft of creativity and its specific outputs. A trademark is a way of signaling to the world who created something. If someone uses AI to copy an artist’s style and then the artist’s As it tries to pass off, that is is Steal. Trademark theft. Different discussion for another day.)

If a computer or a person steals your style, it is an indication that you have influenced the culture. And the only response is to dig deep and make another impact on the culture, don’t try to carve your contributions into our shared modes of interaction.

The only thing that allows creators to create is work that came before. When we create, we add to that work so others can do the same.

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