If It Were Actually AI, It Could Be Ethical

Dave Gutteridge
From the Gutt
Published in
4 min readJun 13, 2024

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A sculpture by Jeff Koons

Artists have been using assistants to create their work at least since the Renaissance. Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt and uncountable others all had artisans who worked in their studios to help them produce their art.

Today, artists like Murakami and Koons have industrial workshops where people help them create work on a scale that would probably be impossible for a single person working alone.

So isn’t AI just a continuation of that?

It could be, if we were dealing with actual AI.

A core problem with so much of the controversy surrounding “AI” generated works of art is that it’s not really “AI.” Or, more accurately, “AI” doesn’t have a fixed definition that everyone agrees upon. But, what’s for certain is that just because companies that are heavily motivated to advertise their products using exciting terms like “AI” doesn’t mean that’s what they’re actually offering.

The distinctions are more than just semantic. In order to know if what’s being sold as “AI” is performing a role similar to human artist’s assistant, we need to know if it can.

If the standard for ethical use of an assistant is a human, then we need to look at why it is that we don’t consider that problematic. Historically we seem to accept that a human can assist an artist without…

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Dave Gutteridge
From the Gutt

I don't post often because I think about what I write. Topics include ethics, relationships, and philosophy.