AI misunderstanding causes outrage on Reddit

When AI art generators like Dall-E 2 became a thing, illustrators and artists everywhere worried they were going to put them out of a job. So there’s been pushback against them, not least on Reddit, where the subreddit r/Art has a rule against posting “memes, AI, filters, or other low quality work”.

But how do you enforce such a rule in practice, when there’s no infallible way to distinguish what’s been created by software like Dall-E 2 and what’s been created by people? Well, it seems that moderators are basically going on gut feeling… and that’s led a working illustrator to be banned for his all-too-human artwork.

Vietnamese concept artist Minh Anh Nguyen Hoang, who works under the name Ben Moran, has been banned from r/Art for posting A muse in Warzone (opens in new tab). Created in Photoshop, it’s fantastic work, but clearly someone thought it was too good… because a moderator flagged it up for being AI-generated.

This painting was removed by r/Art moderators for violating Rule 6: ‘no memes, AI, filters, or other low quality work’ (Image credit: Ben Moran)

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Moran got in touch to politely explain they had it wrong, and offered to share the PSD file to prove he’d created the art himself. But, according to screengrabs he later shared on Twitter (opens in new tab), he was met with defiance. ‘I don’t believe you,’ the response reads. ‘Even if you did “paint” it yourself, it’s so obviously an AI-prompted design that it doesn’t matter. If you really are a “serious” artist, then you need to find a different style.’

For context, Moran is the lead artist at Kart Studio (opens in new tab)and the art in question was an near-completed piece commissioned for a book cover by fantasy author Selkie Myth (opens in new tab). Moran currently remains suspended from r/Art, and artists have rallied to his cause across social media and Reddit itself, such as this protest piece (opens in new tab) by user gr1imly… who’s also been banned as a result.

Cartoon of person holding up protest poster

(Image credit: gr1mly)

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