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Artificial Intelligence

In today's world, Artificial Intelligence (AI) impacts all education fields and is not subject specific. This Research Guide is here to support your research and learning journey in Artificial Intelligence.

AI Art at the University of Calgary

Midjourney is an artificial intelligence art tool and software program that creates images through a combination of text words provided by a user and images found throughout the internet. Described by the creators, Midjourney “is an independent research lab exploring new mediums of thought and expanding the imaginative powers of the human species” (About Us, Midjourney). This is a new tool you can find in Lab Next on the 3rd floor of TFDL, where you can create fascinating images that can inspire your future novel, your coursework, or discussions about the images you’ve created. With a QR code at the bottom of your image, you can save your created image.

Like all tools we use, AI Art tools have to be used responsibly and with careful consideration.

Because Midjourney pulls inspiration from throughout the internet, it is difficult to know where the original content came from. So it is difficult to cite. There has been no agreed upon way to cite your Midjourney image in common citation styles like APA, Chicago, or MLA. For example, the MLA Style Centre has said in general of citing artificial intelligence software that, “How you cite a program that uses artificial intelligence depends on the format in which you interact with it, as well as the goal of your citation” (Citing Artificial Intelligence, 2019). Talk with your instructor first on how best to cite your image if you want to use it in a course assignment.

When thinking about citing, you might also be considering the copyright laws with the images the tool has created. In February 2022, the US Copyright Office declined to give an AI art creator the copyright of their image, setting a precedent that AI art cannot be copyrighted, as it lacks the human authorship needed for copyright (Recker, 2022). There is currently an ongoing legal proceeding against different AI art companies of “copyright infringement for using billions of images downloaded from the internet without artists’ consent.” (Cho, 2023).

There are critical literacy considerations to think about as we use this tool and other AI art tools.  There has been a variety of articles noting that AI techniques, based on the source material they have learned from, perpetuates existing racial and gender stereotypes (Buolamwini 2019, Clark 2022, Fokina 2023).  There are also the people who created the software and AI models, with their own implicit biases and lived experience that influence the algorithms that creates images in unforeseen ways. We must also ask if people commonly underrepresented in the technology sectors, such as women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, were involved in the creation of the software. 

Midjourney Example

Asking Midjourney to illustrate a dog accountant with a sandwich. This is what Midjourney responded with. 

AI Art Tools Further Reading