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Xbox criticized for AI-generated art promoting indie games

It’s apparently the season for promoting indie games with AI-generated garbage. A Microsoft Twitter account recently posted low-effort, high-energy artwork promoting indie games on Xbox before deleting it after being roundly mocked by fans and developers.

“Walking in an indie wonderland,” the ID@Xbox account tweeted on December 27. “What were your favorite indie games of the year?” The post was accompanied by an AI-generated image of kids sledding down a hill with a giant green Xbox logo on it.

Screenshot: Microsoft/Kotaku

It seemed harmless at first, but a second or third glance immediately revealed telltale AI anomalies, like children maneuvering their sleds with cranks attached to nothing and fishing out of the snow for presents with strange black tendrils . A man playing on a handheld computer in the center of the image has had his upper lip replaced by teeth. A child jumping in the snow appears to have a mustache. This was a terrible idea given that ID@Xbox is supposed to be the human-facing team within the megacorporation that champions individual creators and small independent teams.

“Bro, it’s not Xbox that uses ayy-eye to promote independent developers” wrote pixel artist TAHK0. “Nothing says ‘we don’t care about indie developers’ like using AI” wrote artist NecroKuma3. “If you can’t hire an artist to advertise, I highly doubt you’ll do it with independent developers. The company quietly deleted the post overnight, without acknowledging the backlash. Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

While not posting half-assed AI artwork to promote artists seems like a no-brainer, we’re seeing more and more companies doing it lately. There was the AI-generated promotional image for Amazon To fall TV show, promoting AI-generated art a new Pokémon GO eventand even Ubisoft accounts representing offices where staff had recently been laid off AI-powered Assassin’s Creed art.

When these things started happening it seemed shitty but the stakes were low. However, it seems increasingly clear that companies are taking the same approach to the art of AI that they have taken with every other advancement of the Internet age, assuming that people will complain at first, but eventually they will get tired of it and move on. to be angry about something else. Boil the frog slowly enough and it will eventually not realize that it has 11 fingers, 13 toes, and strange spindly wires coming out of its back.

Learn more: AI art creation is an ethics and copyright nightmare

As a cheerleader for AI technologyHowever, Microsoft’s role in this matter is particularly blatant. The company is already promoting tools for AI-generated content in games, and encouraging Bing’s 20 users to play with its AI artistic tools. It doesn’t matter that no one knows exactly how the technology will make money, or if it’s even legal. If we can replace human creativity with a predictable decline and reduce headcount, it has to be a win-win.

According to MIT Technology Review, each image generated by AI requires as much energy as the entire charge of a smartphone. And Microsoft’s own internal environmental report blamed the technology for a spike of 34 percent in its water consumption to cool all the computing power racks necessary to, among other things, allow users to shitty post about Kirby doing 9/11. As Immortality game director Sam Barlow Put the following the AI-generated ID@Xbox post, “Really impressive that just as we were finally starting to address the climate emergency, we have invented stupid ways to undo all our progress.”

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