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I agree with all that you have written, Marian. I wish more design and illustration community leaders were brave as you are to experiment with and articulate an unemotional opinion regarding the technology. I am disappointed and disturbed by the reactions of the illustration community. No AI can reproduce Edel's work. And as you have demonstrated, it can't mimic any specific artist's work in any way, much less consistently and reproducibly. The areas where it can mimic "style" are often areas where the style is so typical that the AI is mimicking MANY artists. If mimicking style was as big a problem as some claim, what about artists who have aped the styles of many other illustrators? In my lifetime, many of my favorite illustrators–Norman Rockwell. Frank Frazetta. Franklin Booth. Bernie Wrightson have been widely imitated. Minor or significant artists, fine or commercial artists, "influences" are matter-of-fact. These artists have been borrowed from and, quite convincingly, in many cases.

The community questions morality, ethics, and legal questions.

Moral arguments are complicated because morality is strictly personal, for better or worse. If the matter is one of "soul" or "humanness," these are issues for the individual "creator." Suppose it is an ethical question (as it certainly is in some instances). In that case, this is a question governed by the community– and is already addressed by the profession (as evidenced by the position of various competitions). As you have indicated, legal issues will evolve with the technology and the marketplace.

The fear of technology is the core of all of the arguments. All other views only mask the anxiety that seems to be gripping a large portion of the community. The outrage is not unexpected but is a waste of intellectual and emotional energy.

The best example of technology changing art is "sampling" in the music industry. It was generally subtle and tolerated at first. Still, it became egregious, was settled as a legal issue, and now seems to be the currency of the profession and considered "creative." In my opinion, very little of the music created this way is appealing OR creative. The marketplace disagrees with me.

As far as the loss of jobs by artists, this will undoubtedly happen. Technology does this. There are examples throughout history of which we are all aware. Within the design community, look at typography and typesetting in the late '80s and '90s. Desktop publishing decimated that industry. And we still suffer from bad "typesetting."

On the other hand, technology lowered the barrier to entry for designing a font. Type design software created tremendous creative opportunities for type designers and led to remarkable technical advances (see Opentype). We are in a Golden Age of innovative typographic design.

It's time to calm down and find ways to use this technology to our advantage. We will all benefit if we look at this as another tool instead of a threat. Stop catastrophizing. Technology happens, and intelligent practitioners have survived and thrived.

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