To truly delve into this debate, we must first define some key terms. "Art theft is the “obvious” stealing of artwork and publishing it as your own art. Without seeking consent from or giving credit to the source, the act is an indirect claim of the stolen piece. Art theft isn’t limited to simple posting of others’ artwork. Tweaking it to make it look different is also an act of plagiarism.
On the other hand, tracing is an act of duplicating the original artwork either with little or no change at all. Like art theft, tracing also goes beyond the traced copy as it also involves enhancements." (ref. https://ciit.edu.ph/art-plagiarism/)
However, I feel that an AI, such as the one utilized in the Lensa app that is currently trending on various social medias, utilizing user-generated input images and then cross-references many types of art works & styles to compile a new and original image, is synonymous with what our brains as humans and as artists do - create what we see / want to portray and emulate our emotions that are affected almost completely by external sources. E.G. Humans can't dream a face they have never seen - all people in your dreams come from someone you have previously seen, in media or in person. The brain is interesting like that - taking outside stimuli & internalizing each in our own ways; 'creating' our own version of a variety of unoriginal stimuli. (ref. https://sites.bu.edu/ombs/tag/dreams/)
Before this turns into another mini thesis, I'll conclude by clearly drawing the picture. (Heh. See what I did there?) Ultimately, from my knowledge of the way these AI artists work, it is parallel to how our human brains work. The AI is not "tracing" or publishing other's art as their own. The AI simply "scrubs" for knowledge as reference and inspiration just as our human brains do in experiencing the world in mobile bodies and then in turn utilizes the user input images (selfies in the case of Lensa app) alongside the "scrubbed learning" (for lack of a better term) to then creator original artwork.
This is an interesting conversation.
As a writer and musician, infringement of intellectual properties via plagiarism (if you can prove them to be yours) are a real concern. It will be interesting to see how society adapts to the new potentials of AI in our near future.
Food for thought.
Thanks for coming to my "Jade" Talk. (See what I did there?? ^) 😎