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K13's AI Usage Statement

Updated: Apr 3

Greetings from K13!

As the founder of this upstart publishing venture, I'm eager to maintain transparency with our existing and potential readers and to share my vision for blending human creativity with the possibilities of generative AI technology.

My goal with K13 is not simply creating fascinating and engaging entertainment, but to also explore areas of storytelling where tradition and technology can be combined in hopes to create something new and innovative.

With that said, I am fully aware of and sensitive to the controversies surrounding the use of AI tech in the arts, and I wanted to address those concerns to clarify my decision to press forward and integrate the technology into K13 graphic offerings.  

Below are some common concerns I have heard discussed around the emergence of AI and its use in mainstream entertainment.

K13’s Journey with AI:

Addressing the FAQs
Q: Are any of your books written by AI? 
A: No. As a storyteller myself and storytelling being the core humanistic element that drives my company, I do not believe in using any assistance (AI or human) in narrative creation other than human developmental editors who collaborate on creating the best version of our books.

I understand that this may seem like circular logic to some and that I am minimizing the artist’s role in creation of graphic stories—saying the writing must remain human, but the art does not—but from my perspective that is not the case.

I view it plainly as using a technological tool for me and other storytellers to enhance our creative visions and maintain more direct control of the creative outputs. I would also like to state that I have absolutely zero issue if others choose to write with the use of AI or create books that may be written entirely by AI.

Finally, the only area of our workflow where AI is allowed in the writing is for marketing or book description copy.

Q: How does K13 incorporate AI into its storytelling? 
A: I view generative AI at K13 as a tool and nothing more. Generative AI is part of a broader palette of our creative workflow that also includes 3D rendering, traditional art, digital illustrative techniques, and real-world photography. This eclectic mix allows K13 to craft vivid, directable, and multi-dimensional scenes in our graphic offerings that bring our narratives to life, blending mediums to tell stories in ways previously unimagined.

Q: Does the use of AI undermine the value of human artists? 
A: My belief is no.

In my experience, AI amplifies the importance and value of human creativity and input. Artists at K13, including myself, are not replaced but empowered, using AI as a tool to push the boundaries of what's possible in graphic storytelling, and using generative AI is certainly no short-cut as I have seen expressed. In many ways is more challenging to wield to the effect in our current graphical offerings.

The final artwork in our graphic properties, such as the meticulously crafted cover of "Circle of 6, Vol. 1", exemplifies the synergy of human artistry and AI efficiency. With this this example, it took nearly 22 hours of hand digital editing to create the cover’s effect not to mention multiple revisions. It would be simply impossible to create the vast majority of our imagery with AI alone. The human element is foundational to K13s success and under my leadership will remain so.

Q: How does K13 respond to the notion that AI is a form of artistic theft? 
A: Being an artist myself, I absolutely understand the concern here and am sensitive to the critique. But I have a different line of thinking on this, and I do not believe that generative AI is theft.

Firstly, to further solidify my stance on this, I would have zero issue if I discovered a LLM/GPT used any of my existing writing to train its datasets. In fact, I would be flattered. If the AI then went on to write horror novels, etc, all by itself, I would find that fascinating and would encourage such an endeavor.

Generative AI, specifically art generators, GANs, etc., in my perspective, function and learn similarly to that of a human art student absorbing a broad range of influences and artworks/techniques to discover and train their own unique talent and voice.

AI art generators essentially learn the same way. They synthesize and adapt ideas from a vast array of artistic sources, akin to how artists have always drawn inspiration from the world around them. The only real difference here is the AI is doing it at a larger scale and generally with a much wider-reaching range of styles and influences from photography to stick drawings.

Q: What role does generative AI play in the broader narrative of storytelling? 
A: I believe generative AI is a tool and nothing more. I view it as the democratization of graphic storytelling.

Generative AI enables voices from all corners of the globe to paint their stories with professional-grade imagery, allowing access to high-caliber visual storytelling tools that would essentially be unavailable in the past. This technological advancement is not just about making art more enjoyable to create for a novice; it's about making storytelling more accessible to all, unlocking new perspectives and empowering them to speak on the same level of quality and engagement as major publishing houses and comic studios.

Q: Won’t AI eliminate the human element in art? 
A: No. I staunchly believe that AI technology used to augment K13’s graphic offerings does not diminish the human element. In fact, the human element is more crucial than ever.

Humans are the visionaries, the torchbearers of creativity who guide and shape the direction of technological and artistic growth. Human ingenuity and artistic achievement are the bedrock upon which AI technology is built and evolves. Generative AI artists, by marrying traditional and novel techniques, not only contribute to the art of today but also lay the groundwork for the technologies of tomorrow. It's a partnership where human creativity leads and AI technology follows, inviting us all to explore new artistic horizons.

Q: Doesn’t AI cost human jobs? Why don’t you hire real artists? 
A: Firstly, we do hire real human artists.

This is a multi-faceted issue, and of course there is always concern that AI will eliminate certain work for humans. But I do not feel that applies to K13’s usage case. Mostly because to the best of my knowledge I am a real human artist, and if one could witness the sheer amount of hours it takes me to go from say an AI generated background and characters to a completed scene I can use in a comic panel, I believe that person would understand there are absolutely no short-cuts being used with AI.

Secondarily, K13 is currently training two new artists (one a fine artist with a background in illustration) on how to use the system I’ve created. They are doing very real digital artistic work and being paid very real money. I believe this will be the case across multiple levels of AI integration to the arts, and it is my goal to have a team of artists using this system within the next eighteen months.

In Closing
The finality of this and likely the most important reason I followed this path is because, frankly, I enjoy it. Since being introduced to generative AI and its capabilities, I have become not only a student of the tech but also a vocal advocate.

In the past, I have worked collaboratively with real artists on some of my first books. I was lucky to have worked with some extremely talented people and am proud of those works. That said, to this day, I always feel a bit removed from those final works for not having total control of the output.

With this new system I have designed with generative AI as one of its foundational corners, and specifically as I learn and devise new techniques month after month, I can assert that by and large, K13 readers are absorbing our graphic serials exactly as I envision them down to character iris color and texture.

By using this incredible tool I have become enamored with, I can digitally alter an image until it is essentially exactly what lives in my imagination. With little to no static interference between me and the desired result. I expect this notion only to strengthen in time as I grow from a novice to hopeful proficiency in wielding the tech.

I very much appreciate you reading about my stance on AI tech and hope that it clarified not only my ethics on the usage of AI software, but also how it is applied to K13’s graphic adaptations. I hope that you will join me in embracing this path with an open mind.

My commitment to this journey is not just about leveraging new technologies like AI but about forging a path where human creativity remains at the heart of these endeavors, and enriching both artists and readers along the way.

Thank you for joining me on this exciting adventure.

Your Friend,
Brian James Gage,
Founder, K13
 
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