System Shock publisher faces anger for using AI-generated artwork, says it wanted to start a conversation
A short conversation for manyBy Rob Thubron 10 comments
A hot potato: Content created by generative AI is starting to feel like NFTs did at their height: companies love it, but a lot of consumers don't. The latest example of this comes from Prime Matter, publisher of the upcoming System Shock remake, which recently used Midjourney to create a picture of antagonist Shodan and shared it on social media, much to the annoyance of many fans.
A Twitter post on the official System Shock remake account included an image of Shodan created by Midjourney, along with the words "designed by an immortal machine for an immortal machine."
While the intention might have been to get an AI to create an AI, the reaction to the post has mostly been negative. "Pay an artist. I don't want to see slop made from a plagiarism machine," wrote one. "I gotta join the others and say I hate AI art being used by corporations. Pay an artist to make something like this or don't waste my time, please," wrote another.
An AI using AI to imagine what AI would look like in a physical form; doesn't get more meta than that… which was the entire point of starting the conversation https://t.co/A8BCkwP5V9– System Shock (@SystemShockGame) May 2, 2023
Nightdive, the developer of System Shock, has confirmed that the post was entirely Prime Matter's doing. "The Twitter account is not controlled by Nightdive; the original and subsequent posts were made by Prime Matter," Nightdive director of business development Larry Kuperman told PC Gamer. "These statements do not reflect Nightdive's values nor are they accurate in terms of the development of System Shock. To be clear, no AI generated art was used in the development of System Shock."
The publisher responded to the negativity with another tweet claiming the original post was just intended to start a conversation. "An AI using AI to imagine what AI would look like in a physical form; doesn't get more meta than that… which was the entire point of starting the conversation."
In a subsequent tweet, Prime Matter referred to Geoffrey Hinton, often referred to as the Godfather of AI, who this week left Google to warn about the dangers of companies taking advantage of more powerful AI systems. "Look at how it [AI] was five years ago and how it is now," Hinton said. "Take the difference and propagate it forwards. That's scary."
But this was never about using AI to create artwork instead of using real people. This was about using AI to imagine what AI imagines itself to look like– System Shock (@SystemShockGame) May 2, 2023
Despite the outcry, Prime Matter finished with a tweet confirming it will continue to use AI to create other pieces, including artwork, and in other areas, but never at the expense of using skilled people or their creative talents, apparently.
For all the excitement around generative AIs, the job losses they are inflicting (or will inflict) on Dropbox, IBM, and others aren't generating much love. Most workers are against an AI deciding who in a company is fired, hired, or promoted, and a recent study showed that people would rather talk to a human than an AI. Using image-generating AI is also receiving pushback from those who say it is costing artists jobs and is merely plagiarizing other work.