EThics of Art(ificial Intelligence) Initiative

In conjunction with The International Day of Action for Academic Integrity on October 18th, 2023, Mines hosted an AI Creativity intiative that asked students to reflect on the ethics of using generative artificial intelligence (genAI) to produce visual art. This event was sponsored by Ethics Across Campus, the Trefny Center, and Student Life. Entries were required to include the image and a 250 word “artist’s note” that described what kind/how much genAI was used, critically reflected on how they used AI, and explored the ethical considerations involved in generating AI art. The gallery below features student submissions. For more information about Mines’ approach to genAI technologies, see the “Guidelines for Using Generative Artificial Intelligence at Mines” resource.


Jakob WalkeR

Artist’s Note: his image was entirely created by AI using both ChatGPT and an AI drawing software known as Craiyon. ChatGPT was used to create the prompt to feed into Craiyon. I asked the AI to ‘give me a prompt for an AI art generator’ to which it responded ‘Prompt: ‘Create an abstract artwork that combines elements of nature and technology, with a focus on vibrant colors and dynamic shapes. Let the AI interpret this fusion in a unique and captivating way.”. I then plugged this into Craiyon where it output nine results in roughly one minute. To make this truly AI-generated, I had ChatGPT generate a random number between one and nine, choosing the option of artwork. The result is this piece. Throughout this entire process, I essentially did nothing. I used no creative thought in creating a prompt, no reasoning behind my picture, nothing, I simply asked an AI to create a prompt for another AI. In this case, the AI that created the artwork is trained off of real human work, so the work that I ‘created’ is not truly my own. Along with that, the work that I ‘created’ wasn’t even created by me, it was created by an AI language model, one which is also trained using hundreds of millions of examples, all of which are written by humans. The ethical consideration of this piece is that I did not create this piece, nor did the AI, hundreds of millions of humans created this piece.

Jalen Thomas

Artist’s Note: In creating my artwork, I harnessed the capabilities of AI, specifically the Canva Online AI Generator, to explore the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence. The image I sought, “Humans Building a Computer,” symbolizes the paradigm shift occurring in our society. Traditionally, we employed robots to construct complex objects, thus creating tools to enhance human capabilities. Today, we witness humans assembling robots, which in turn create powerful AI tools. This inversion of roles highlights the transformative potential of AI, where technology itself becomes the toolmaker, leading to ethical considerations that warrant reflection. As an artist, my engagement with AI prompts a critical examination of the ethical implications surrounding AI-generated art. It raises questions about authorship, creativity, and the role of the artist. Does the act of selecting an image from an AI generator constitute artistry, or is it an act of curation? The line between human creativity and AI assistance becomes blurred, necessitating a reevaluation of the artistic process. Ethical concerns extend beyond authorship. AI art can perpetuate biases present in the data used for training, reinforcing harmful stereotypes. As creators, it is our responsibility to address these biases and ensure the ethical use of AI, striving for inclusivity and fairness. In composing this note, I employed ChatGPT to assist in articulating my thoughts, further highlighting the synergy between human creativity and AI. This collaboration underscores the potential for AI to augment our creative endeavors while reminding us of the ethical responsibility we bear. In conclusion, my artwork signifies the intricate interplay between humans and AI in contemporary society. It challenges us to reflect on the evolving role of artists and the ethical considerations inherent in AI-generated art. As we navigate this uncharted territory, let us strive for a harmonious partnership between human ingenuity and artificial intelligence, where creativity knows no bounds, and ethics guide our path forward

Ryan Hutchinson 

Artist’s Note: The image “The Rainbow Bridge to Heaven” references the belief that after death, a person’s pet waits for them on the Rainbow Bridge where they will be reunited. I generated the image using only Midjourney, a generative AI best known for its artistic abilities and stunning results. When Midjourney first came out, I experimented with it for weeks, seeing what crazy images I could create. After playing with and learning more about it, I showed it to my parents and grandparents. My grandma, who had recently lost her dog, asked me if Midjourney could create an image of the Rainbow Bridge to Heaven. I put in the prompt “the rainbow bridge to heaven” and Midjourney spat out an image of a dog sitting on a bridge with a rainbow overhead. My grandma was amazed at the image, especially considering that the dog in the picture looked almost exactly like her dog, Emma. It is amazing to me how an AI is capable of creating images that can evoke such strong emotions in a person, considering that it is computer-generated. That said, there are some serious ethical issues regarding AI art. The most important issue is that AI art has minimal human input, creating images from repeated patterns in countless artists’ original pieces. Not only is the AI creating mere mimics of original pieces, but it often utilizes original artists’ work without crediting them due to the nature of how generative AI works. All in all, “The Rainbow Bridge to Heaven” demonstrates the emotional capabilities of AI art while also providing a good case for examining the ethics of AI art.