Prime Matter has defended its decision to use AI software for an illustration of SHODAN, the rogue AI villain of the publisher’s upcoming System Shock remake.
Last week, Prime Matter’s social media account for System Shock shared artwork of SHODAN given human form (via Eurogamer), with a caption reading: “Imagine, how would my immortal body look like? Designed by an immortal machine for an immortal machine”.
Look at you, hacker: a pathetic creature of meat and bone. Your body, weak, fragile.
How can you challenge a perfect machine?
Imagine, how would my immortal body look like?
Designed by an immortal machine for an immortal machine.#SHODAN #SystemShock #midjourney #rogueAI pic.twitter.com/i4Gwi2bpdQ
— System Shock (@SystemShockGame) April 28, 2023
As detailed by Prime Matter, the artwork was created using Midjourney AI software — but the irony of the System Shock publisher using AI to create artwork for a murderous AI was not lost on fans of the game.
The use of AI in the world of art is controversial, as AI software “scrapes” other artwork from the internet to generate images — with critics describing the process as plagiarism.
On Monday (May 2), Prime Matter defended its use of Midjourney to create the artwork of SHODAN, and claimed it was an attempt at “starting the conversation” around AI.
SHODAN – the AI from the game – was one of the first examples of “AI running amok” in video games (albeit a concept pioneered by HAL-9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey movie) pic.twitter.com/ymtzzp1l55
— System Shock (@SystemShockGame) May 2, 2023
“This was never about using AI to create artwork instead of using real people. This was about using AI to imagine what AI imagines itself to look like,” argued the company.
“We will use AI again to create other pieces (including artwork). We may well use AI in other areas too. But this will never be at the expense of using skilled people or their creative talents.”
However, System Shock fans remain unconvinced by Prime Matter’s argument.
From this statement alone, it's clear that you are not fully informed on how Generative Ai and Data scraping work. If you knew, you would know that there are currently ZERO ethical generative-Ai programs. Everything thus far has been exploitative and has been causing HARM
— Jon Lam #CreateDontScrape (@JonLamArt) May 3, 2023
I was considering pre-ordering the System Shock remake before I saw this tweet. Thanks for saving me some money. 👍
— Fighter_Builder (@Fighter_Builder) May 3, 2023
"this was never about using AI to create artwork instead of using real people" pic.twitter.com/yWTLZtbUem
— NotImportantUser (@NotImportantUs1) May 3, 2023
Debates surrounding the ethics of AI are currently taking place across the wider entertainment industry. While the likes of Liam Gallagher and Grimes have shared approval for AI-created music, Nick Cave recently described its use as “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human”.
Likewise, an AI version of Kurt Cobain singing Hole’s ‘Celebrity Skin’ received a mixed reception from listeners.
As for System Shock, Nightdive’s remake is set to release later this month following a series of delays.