Four Reasons Why I’m Not Using AI for Images

AI has been around for a while now, and it seems like most of the people in my orbit are in two camps: they either love it and use it as much as possible, or steer completely clear of it. I’ve been in the latter camp, at least as far as my work life goes, until fairly recently. I’ve been playing with programs like Chat GPT and Perplexity to do research and get ideas for topics I might want to write about, or even to research organizations I might want to work with. It’s been an interesting exercise and a fun toy to play with, because the stakes are low—any of the writing I do is just for me, and not something I’m being paid to do.

The one thing I still won’t do with AI is create graphics. The thought of typing in a few words and having a program create the “perfect” image for me is really tempting, but it’s not worth the risk—AI images can pose significant challenges from a copyright standpoint. Here’s why I’m not using them, at least for now:

  1. I have no idea where the source images are coming from. AI-based art generators draw their inspiration from billions of images sourced across the internet, and it’s likely that many of those images are copyrighted by the original artists. Even if I’ve modified the AI images to make them more my own, there’s still ambiguity regarding ownership and attribution and who owns the final rights, and I don’t want to take the risk of being sued for copyright infringement.
  2. AI-generated images can’t be copyrighted. Copyright law requires human authorship for protection, so I want to make sure that I’m using design elements that I’ve either created myself, or sourced from stock sites that have clear copyright rules.
  3. I can’t guarantee that an image is unique unless I create it myself. If I type a prompt into an image generator, I have no idea if it’s producing the same image for me that it produced for someone else.
  4. And as a designer, AI-generated photos generally look a little off (at least to me). A lot of the photographs created by AI tend to look a bit like oil paintings, text looks funky and unreadable, and people often have too many hands or not enough fingers.

So at least for the time being, if you’re hiring me to create a graphic for you, you can rest assured that I’m creating it myself using properly-sourced, non-copyrighted assets—I don’t want to rely on luck when it comes to the law.