A Field Guide to Making AI Art Responsibly

Partnership on AI
Sep 18, 2020 · 2 min read
Field guide by Emily Saltz, Lia Coleman, and Claire Leibowicz

By Claire Leibowicz and Emily Saltz

Machine learning tools for generating synthetic media are becoming more and more accessible. We’ve written about how the availability of these tools can allow the creation of synthetically generated media to mislead and cause harm. Even lower-tech, cheapfake techniques — like those recently used on videos of Joe Biden — can be used to alter the perception of public figures.

Yet, the same tools can have powerful expressive capabilities. For artists, these tools have generated a new creative field for expressing themselves and commentating on life and technology. Derrick Schultz’s AI-generated works leverage artwork from vintage botanical illustrations; Esteban Salgado created his own dataset of abstract vector shapes to train AI in generating animated abstract collages; and Kishi Yuma has experimented with “next frame prediction” to animate images or “redefine humanity through the gaze of AI.”

As artists and other independent creators experiment with AI technologies, it is crucial to recognize that as they create AI art, they are also de facto AI researchers as part of the broader synthetic media research community. By releasing AI art into the world, artists are responsible for understanding the potentially harmful unintended consequences of their work. How can artists create AI art responsibly and with care?

We’ve created a Field Guide to Making AI Art Responsibly in collaboration with AI artist and educator Lia Coleman. The guide is structured around questions artists should ask while making AI art. It provides some emerging best practices and checkpoints for artists to try out in their work. In particular, artists can expect to learn responsible practices for using and creating datasets, machine learning codebases, training resources, and publishing their work.

This Field Guide was inspired by a July 2020 presentation with Gray Area

We invite AI artists to try employing this guide on their own, or as part of a group or class. Let us know how we can help you document the experience by contacting aimedia@partnershiponai.org.

Download the Field Guide: https://www.partnershiponai.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Partnership-on-AI-AI-Art-Field-Guide.pdf

View the plain text version of the Field Guide: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1y-liHc9q43PUSSxNElauJuG8CVCpPwFjVo0-4mBFKsQ/edit?usp=sharing


Advancing Responsible AI


A publication to highlight the practice of developing and ensuring AI technologies are ethical, transparent, and inclusive for the benefit of people and society

Partnership on AI

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The Partnership on AI is a global nonprofit organization committed to the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence.


A publication to highlight the practice of developing and ensuring AI technologies are ethical, transparent, and inclusive for the benefit of people and society

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