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ethical use of AI in crochet design business

Ethical AI In Crochet Design

AI (Artificial Intelligence) has permeated the crochet world at many levels. While we often talk about the ways that AI content generation is hurting the art industry, I want to talk about a few ways that we might be able to use this tool for the good of our businesses without using AI to steal art from others.

Note: Specifically, I want to talk about using AI to write blocks of text and create images from prompts. “AI” is now a term we apply to almost all automations in technology, but I just want to talk about content generation.

Can you ethically use AI as a crochet designer?

AI itself is neither good nor bad. It is a tool to generate text and images based on the prompt it is given. Think of it as a very conversational search engine. AI produces your desired word choices or images based on what is already available all over the internet – meaning no matter what you request from your AI generator, it can only regurgitate what already exists, just mish-mashed into something unfamiliar.  

AI can make writing a blog post easy and fast, but it will also lack the author’s voice. It will be a conglomeration of other already-existing voices. (There is discussion about this being considered plagiarism because it already-written words, but that argument is yet to be determined.) AI can make beautiful images, but they will be reworkings of existing art, which was made by a human who is not getting credit for their work. Whether we like it or not, using AI “art” is stealing from real artists. To use it in any published material takes away from human artists and graphic designers.

But as a “conversational search engine,” AI text and image generation can be useful to speed up research for blog information or design ideas. For example, I could search all over the internet for articles about the top ten challenges for amigurumi designers, or I could ask ChatGPT and it could do that research for me. I would still be gathering information from other sources, and it can speed up the process of getting quality content to my readers. But it is easy to go to far with this tool and use it for “less than honest” purposes.

As Uncle Ben told us, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

In such an artistic industry, it is vital that we be constantly aware of the balance between increasing productivity and losing the art of our creative business. For crochet pattern designers, integrating AI into their creative process can offer numerous benefits while maintaining ethical standards. 

AI-powered image creation tools can help spark creativity by suggesting unique shapes, patterns, and color combinations for your amigurumi designs. Have an image creator offer a variety of poses for an animal you wish to create. Use an AI image to give you a start on your shaping plans or construction techniques. 

Note: Using AI images as inspiration is totally different from creating an AI crochet image and pretending it is real, handmade work. My advice? Never use the word “crochet” when creating AI image prompts for inspiration. This will produce fun shapes, colors, and ideas, without ever pretending to be crochet. The crochet interpretation of that image comes completely from your mind and your art heart.

Using AI images to market your pattern instead of the real creation is deceptive marketing and should be avoided. In fact, avoid posting any AI image on social media (especially those depicting finished “crochet” projects). This could be construed as false-advertising and negatively affect your reputation as a designer. 

Instead, show off your humanity! Crocheters want to MAKE your patterns, so remind them that they are something made by real, human hands.   

Writing engaging blog posts is essential for connecting with your audience and showcasing your expertise. AI-powered content generation tools can assist in outlining blog posts by organizing key points and suggesting relevant topics based on trending keywords and audience interests. 

However, it’s important to infuse your unique voice and perspective into the content during the writing process to maintain authenticity. When you outline or only pre-write with AI, you allow yourself the freedom to write in your true voice while still letting AI do the planning. 

AI has become so prevalent that we are quickly reaching a point where we can read a paragraph and immediately know if it was created by a human or a machine. Phrases once considered witty are now cliche and overused. Watch for repeated phrases that AI is picking up as common or popular for our niche. 

Before you ever paste anything in your blog or social media post, rewrite it in your voice! Don’t trust AI to sound like anything more than a machine. 

I really shouldn’t have to say this, but here it goes.

Don’t use artificial intelligence to write crochet patterns and pretend that you wrote them. Don’t publish these polished turds. AI can make something that looks and feels like a crochet pattern, but just like the trouble it has with human hands, AI can’t really figure out how to make something look a certain way using yarn.

If you try to sell AI patterns, I can almost guarantee you will have bad reviews, be reported to Etsy/Ravelry, and will drive your business into the ground. So please, be above using AI to write patterns.

If you must use AI to create memes or eye-catching graphics to post on social media, be honest and let everyone know it is AI. You can watermark the corner with “Created by AI” or include it in the description of the image or text of the post.

Letting people know an image is AI is a courtesy to those who look at your social media. It affirms that you are not trying to claim that you are the artist of a certain image. It lets you use those goofy images of “grandma’s giant cat” in gest without creating confusion over whether that is or is not real crochet.

Labeling your AI images also adds credibility to your real images. If you use a lot of AI, chances are you may post a picture of a finished pattern for your audience, and they may not believe you made it. But if you regularly label your AI as such, the real crochet will be all the more impressive.

Unwilling to label your AI images on social media? Then this may be a great time to examine your ethics in using it in your business. If you aren’t willing to admit it, then you may be trying to use it for the wrong reasons.

Again, creating an AI crochet image and pretending it is a real crochet project is deceptive. This includes:

  1. Using an AI image to market your pattern that looks similar or is based on the AI image instead of using an image of the real crocheted product. 
  2. Using an AI image to get clicks to your website under the guise of there being a pattern for the crochet project shown.
  3. Posting an AI image and pretending it is your finished work to get likes and comments. (“Like farming”)

We as crochet designers are in an art industry. We make our living on our fiber art. And while crochet can not be done by machine (yet), there are other genres of art that have been ravaged by the coming of AI. AI reproduces paintings, drawings, even photographs by compiling (and frankly, stealing) the art that it finds on the internet. AI can’t create photographs without using real photos for reference – it uses photos taken by real humans with a talent for composition and an eye for beauty. 

Just like we deserve to be paid for our artistic talent, so do the graphic designers and photographers who are being circumvented by AI. So if you are unable to create your own graphics, I would encourage you to use real, human artists to create your logos, marketing materials, and even photography so we can keep up the production of human art. 

AI is already trying to take crochet design from us as it gets better at “writing” crochet patterns. I will support other artists now in hopes that they support my artform when it no longer requires human hands.

The ethical use of AI in crochet design, Hooked by Kati

In Summation 

By incorporating these ethical AI practices into your crochet pattern design business, you can harness the power of technology to streamline your creative process, and ultimately elevate the quality of your craftsmanship while upholding ethical standards and respecting the contributions of fellow artists. Embrace AI as a supportive tool that enhances your artistic vision rather than replacing it, and continue to innovate responsibly in the ever-evolving landscape of digital creativity.*

*For giggles, that last paragraph is all AI, direct pasted into the post. Does it sound “AI” to you? Can you tell the difference between that and my dorky voice? I sure hope so. 🙂

Yarn on,

Kati

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