This American political site has started using AI to illustrate its articles


An illustration of a cartoon brain with a computer chip imposed on top.
Artwork by Alex Castro/MovieBeat

the rampart, an American political news and analysis site, has quietly started using AI to illustrate its articles. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a publication use machine learning art generators in this way, but it is, to the best of this reporter’s knowledge, the first time said publication hasn’t done a whole song and dance about it – which is big news.

In the past, magazines like The Economist turned their AI-generated covers into covers, or the writers accidentally become stories through their use of AI illustrations. But, from what we can see, the rampart didn’t even make this change public. Instead, it’s only just begun to do so – a sign of maturing technology. The news was spotted by Wagner James Au on his blog and featured in Charles Arthur’s newsletter, The overflowwhere we saw it.

Provenance aside, it is interesting to see how the rampart is currently deploying this technology. The post uses an AI image generator named Midjourney, which is known for its attractive aesthetic style that mimics contemporary digital illustration. However, the post does not use raw AI footage, but combines the Midjourney release with stock photos.

In the screenshot below, for example, there’s a stock image of King Charles III superimposed over an AI-generated UK flag (or something similar). This means that a human is involved in creating these images, but it’s probably a less strenuous way to create these attractive and unique illustrations than drawing something from scratch.




A big question here is, has anyone lost their job because of this? We contacted the rampart for more details, but at the time of this writing, it has not yet been communicated to us. Maybe the site used third-party illustrators before this and the AI ​​really took work away from them. Or maybe the site’s art budget has already been cut and their in-house illustrators have simply decided to use AI to spruce up their images rather than using regular stock photos? But even then, some of these images don’t use stock photos at all, which to some extent undermines this market.

In one sense, those details matter a lot, but in another…they don’t. What is clear is that AI image generators are increasingly part of the art ecosystem – in this case, functioning as an intermediary between stock images and original artwork. , balancing lower costs in terms of time and money spent, but producing images that are more unique than stock.

When we look at the entire art market, it seems inevitable that the rise of tools like these will mean that illustrators will lose at least some of their work. The big unknown, however, is how the market as a whole will adapt in the future.

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