AI-generated novel cover sparks discontent

On the cover of poster girllatest novel by Veronica Roth published in November 2022 by Michel Lafon editions, a blonde woman scans the horizon. She appears on what appears to be a dog-eared poster, her eyes don’t have the same shade of gray. On the back cover, its creator is not mentioned. It’s a discreet mention that catches the eye: ” Illustrations: © IA Midjourney “. Namely: an artificial intelligence tool born in the summer of 2022. This “ independent research laboratory “So signed the illustration that adorns the book of the author of the famous saga Divergent.

The characters of Poster Girl have an eye implant that allows the dictatorship to control their actions ” Explain Elsa Lafonmanaging director of the publishing house. “The artistic direction of Editions Michel Lafon therefore thought that the use of AI was an interesting mise en abyme that echoed the plot of the novel. “.

Disgruntled illustrators

But this at first sight anecdotal decision of the publishing house stirs up a debate that is shaking the world of art and illustration as artificial intelligence develops. And goes badly with some illustrators.

On Twitter, the illustrator Jeremie Fleury expressed his indignation on December 14, 2022: “ that’s it, Michel Lafon has taken a stand and decided to despise an entire profession. It’s shameful that such a publishing house makes savings on the backs of illustrators “. The children’s author, who has been watching developments in the industry for 12 years, struggles not to be defeatist: ” There is deep concern coupled with outrage among illustrators, board game creators etc. We are starting to position ourselves. Even art students dread competition from machines these days “, he explains to Weekly Books.

I allow myself to add that they are not the only ones, and very probably not the last adds a surfer, who accompanies his tweet of a photo of two books published this year: The Lizard’s Rest of Christopher Misraki (Beyond the river) and The compass nose of Ulfänt Banderoz of Dan Simmons (Robert Laffont), whose covers display disturbing similarities.

A supposition confirmed by Elsa Lafon: ” I think a lot of French and international publishers have already used AI. The difference is that we display it on the cover “. Editions Michel Lafon nevertheless explain that they do not intend to reuse AI soon.

AI, “unfair competition”?

At the beginning of December, a wave of protest swept over the host of English-language works of art ArtStation, where more and more AI-generated illustrations are published and relayed. As a sign of protest, designers, like Nicholas Kole, started bombarding the site’s home page with black images on which the letters AI are crossed out in red.

The Lensa app, which has seen a spike in popularity through social media this year, has also found itself at the center of controversy. Offering the attractive offer of 50 images for $7.99, she shapes them by drawing between ten and twelve models from the LAION-5B database, whose data comes from, among other things, art sites. While accusations of plagiarism rain down, the company defends itself : AI only draws inspiration, “ in the same way that an individual is able to learn and perfect his technique by looking at works of art, searching the web and learning from artists “.

Australian artist Kim Leutwylershe is indignant: They say it’s a new and unique work, but artists have their style reproduced exactly, down to the way of painting, the color, the composition – techniques that take years and years to perfect. “. In a Twitter thread, his colleague Lauryn Ipsum further reveals the presence of half-erased artist signatures on some artificially produced drawings.

Will we now see other artistic practices, first and foremost writing, set their sights on AI? The American platform Booksby.Ai already proves it. ” Are you tired of books written by authors ? “, is it asked on its site. On the latter, there are a dozen science fiction books entirely written by artificial intelligences.



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AI-generated novel cover sparks discontent


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