Monthly Archives: April 2023

I made some AI generated comics. Is that ethical?

YouTube video version of this essay

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I’m a scientist and I want to communicate science with comics. I tried a bunch of ways to make a comics, and the MidJourney AI was my favorite. I tried conventional image software, collage software, I hired freelance artists, and generative AI. The fact is: making good art takes skill, time, and effort. Some art seems simple, but if people love it, it’s almost certainly a product of a lot of hard practice. AI is a shortcut. It uses other peoples’ art to generate higher quality comics than I can make, without me having to do the practice.

Is this ethical?

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A comic with a scientist in 4 stages of the scientific method in a circle.

Brief: New Channel Announcement, the OTHER scientific method, Links

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I’ve been making comics with the new generative AI Art software. I put up a video all about it on my new channel for long form video essays. You can check out the whole video on the topic over at PeterAllenWrites (link). I do have concerns about the ethics of AI-generated content, but I can also see the value of AI art for science communication. As an example, I made this comic about the scientific method, as performed in real life.

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The hazards of cuddles

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Some solutions to common problems are worse than the problem. This conversation with my wife did, in fact, literally happen. I made the comic as part of my experimentation with MidJourney for an upcoming video essay. I started doing these comics out of a desire to communicate science. I can’t say that this particular example is very science-rich. Still, I think the idea of using jokes and comics to communicate science is useful.

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An act of self-deception

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Thanks to XKCD, I have been paying more attention to hand dryers. Randall Munroe points out (via aircraft-towed aerial billboard) that the hand dryer feels cold because the water on your hands is evaporating. That’s true even if the air is quite hot. But that’s the best-case scenario with hand dryers. I’ve run into plenty that definitely do not have warm air. And I’ve also encountered empty paper towel dispensers that I thought were touchless blower hand dryers and waved my hands around wildly under them. My frustration has become art by way of MidJourney. Let’s talk about placebos.

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