Introduction: Cute Anime Girls and AI Content Creation
If you’re a writer or an artist, you’ve probably seen advertisements for Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools that’ll write blog posts or create graphics for you. I’ve seen lots of them. They’re apparently popular. But honestly? I can’t understand why I would want to use them. Until now, I really couldn’t articulate the reason. Well, I think I’ve figured it out, and I owe it all to cute anime girls. And not in the way you might think!
Or maybe exactly in the way you might think.
Important note: This post is for adults – as in, eighteen years and older. If you’re younger, please do skip this post. The content is not explicit, but it’s intended for mature audiences.
AI Images: Sure, They’re Cute, But…
My inability to speak my mind started with a proliferation of AI-generated anime-style graphics on Instagram. If you’d like an example, check out the account called uki_hajime. Now, before I say what I want to say, I want to make something clear: I don’t dislike this work. I don’t want to disparage it or insult anyone who loves it. This is just my take as someone who creates content – and who just figured out why AI content bothers him!
Take a look at these randomly-selected images.
I kid you not: when I first started seeing these, I thought they were supposed to be sisters. They all had similar eyes. They all had slender shoulders. And…
Well, before I say the “and,” I need to set the stage for an idea that turned out to be critical. It has to do with plot and backstory.
Yes, that kind of plot and backstory.
Pixiv: A Source of Human Inspiration (and Probably Some AI Content Creation)
If you look at an anime art site like Pixiv, there’re probably a few things you’ll notice right away. First, the art there looks like authentic anime art. Most of the work could drop into, or be lifted out of, popular anime titles. I love that style, and I love that site. In fact, when I write my novels, I’ll page through the day’s popular images and find one that speaks to me. She (yeah, I’m partial to cute anime girls) then becomes my muse for the day. Here’s a portion of one I used recently:
Now, that’s a perfectly suitable-for-work image. There’s something about it that I couldn’t put my finger on – some idea that made it appeal to me more than the AI-generated images (at least, the ones I can tell are AI-generated). During one of my recent muse excursions, it dawned on me. It’s something else that will hit you if you browse Pixiv, or if you watch anime in general.
Have you noticed the plot in some of these shows? And by “plot,” I mean breasts. Some of these women seem to have breasts that are larger than their heads. As in, by the time they hit thirty-five years of age, they will likely need back surgery. That’s not to mention the struggle they must go through finding clothes that fit. But in general, breasts figure prominently in anime — even the “flat is justice” movement.
Other shows or artwork focuses on backstory – which is to say, shapely behinds. I should probably say “asses,” but I’m trying to be higher class here. But the way the image focuses on those curves makes it clear – this artist thinks that aspect of a woman’s body is very, very (did I mention very?) appealing. There’s nothing wrong with that – just as there’s nothing wrong with focusing on breasts that are big, small, saggy, perky – whatever. It’s a human observation communicating a human reaction.
That’s the key.
What This Art Has to Say about AI Content Creation (Indirectly)
What are these works of art telling us? I can’t speak for any given artist, certainly, but I suspect those artists intent to use their art to communicate. The communication might be as simple as “breasts are beautiful,” or “hips contain the meaning of life.” The art reflects the writer’s interests — or the writer’s kinks.
Back to the AI art. I thought those girls were supposed to be sisters. One of the reasons was that they all had realistically sized breasts. No deployed airbags! There was no hint of what the “artist” liked about these girls. They were competently created images, using competent models, with competent composition and lighting. But they weren’t the product of any human kinks – or any human affections.
That’s key. Because I browse Pixiv looking for cute anime girl muses, I experienced a revelation that was really right in front of me all this time. Artists communicate through their kinks. I could then generalize that idea to become: one human communicates a human idea or sentiment to other humans.
When I look at the human-generated line drawing above, or the drawing of Echidna, I sense a human connection. When I write novels, I try to include something of myself in those works. I try to initiative that connection. I try to communicate ideas, or get points across. Visual artists are the same way.
That’s what I’m missing when I look at AI-generated content. Yes, it’s beautiful. It’s even technically correct. But there’s no human connection. The lights are on, but there’s no one home.
The Assumption in the Room
Now, I’m making an obvious assumption here. Namely, I’m assuming that the artist has something to communicate. It may be that a blogger simply wants to drive traffic to ads. It might be that a graphics artist wants to drive clicks to his or her page. I’m not disparaging that. People gotta eat. But that’s not what I think art should be. Nor is it what I think artists should do.
It’s not just limited to plot and backstory. There are other more complex ideas – and some even encourage a wide diversity of figures – and species affiliations! Like this picture. You can see the original here. You can see the page for the artist, SAMIP, here.
And you know what? That’s what troubles me about AI generating content. It’s not the problem; it’s a symptom. When I read a post, or look at an image, I want to understand a different human’s perspective. I want to see the world as they see it. That might sound strange given that I started off talking about cute anime girls. But that was just the gateway thought for me. It helped me realize why I had reacted the way that I did to AI-generated art.
Am I saying that we shouldn’t use AI? No. In fact, I think AI can be a fantastic helper! Having an AI find grammatical mistakes in my novels would be fantastic. Having an AI point out that I changed a character’s name by accident halfway through would be great. But in that case, the AI is helping me communicate. The AI can help remove impediments to my communications. As an assistant, AIs can be useful.
Human Content Creators Create Content for Humans to Consume
But as content creators? As long as I want art to communicate human ideas from one human to another, then I don’t think AIs should have a central role. At the very least, I have no intention of ever using one to write content for me. The only thing I have to offer you here on Crow’s World of Anime is my distinct perspective. You can’t get that from any other anime site (or any other novels). If I have an AI write for me, what’s left? Why would you visit my site and not another?
What do you think? Do you enjoy AI-generated content? What role do you think AI can play in the context of human creativity? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!