Racist AI-Generated Art Flood Epic’s Fortnite

Racist AI-Generated Art Flood Epic’s Fortnite

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Epic’s popular battle royale game, Fortnite, has found itself in a pickle due to a huge amount of AI-generated user artwork that depicts certain racial stereotypes.

The gaming community has raised concerns, highlighting how the game makers have been silent on the issue and slow in providing better content moderation to the platform. AI-generated images perpetrating common stereotypes attached to Africans, Mexicans, Arabs, and Indians are a common feature on the gaming platform.

The misused flexibility

Since gaining popularity for its battle royale mode, Fortnite has developed into a flexible gaming platform that supports a wide range of games, allowing users to freely make original content and distribute it to its millions of users.

Creators are compensated for such creations when they blow up and gain popularity.

However, there are now a lot of imitations and clones, with producers using the newest fads to draw attention to their work. According to a Kotaku article, Fortnite is now filled with clones and copycats who are just looking for a pay day.

Some of the AI-generated images portray racially insensitive caricatures, such as Middle Eastern men holding bombs, black men eating fried chicken, and Mexican men wearing sombreros and eating tacos.

Disturbingly, the names of user-created maps like “Arab Zonewars,” “Niger ZoneWars,” and “Africa Zonewars” are easily discoverable, reflecting the “problematic” content that has made its way onto the platform.

The game has also grown its player base to become “undoubtedly one of the titles that have marked the modern history of video games.”

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Jamaica Zonewars “pioneering” the trend

The Kotaku article further notes that the game “Jamaica Zonewars,” which attracted over 35,000 active players on Jan. 5, is the driving force behind this unsettling trend. An AI-generated image of a huge, shirtless black man “adorns” the game’s thumbnail.

Since its Dec. 30 release, many clones of the game have surfaced, some of which have added more objectionable aspects, including fried chicken, cannabis, and monkeys.

A statement from Epic Games posted on Jan. 30 said Fortnite was a place where discriminating content was not allowed in any way, and creators were warned of a permanent ban or demonetization if their content broke the guidelines.

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Gaming community is not amused

Players on the platform have expressed disappointment at Epic over the lack of moderation. They have openly questioned on Reddit and elsewhere why Epic seems slow to act on the influx of racist content plaguing the platform.

According to Kotaku, some players opine the gaming company has a slim moderation team, while others believe the company is prioritizing profits over ethics. These creations are doing well on the platform, and therefore Epic is happy with them bringing more players and cash to the business.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has in the past told PC Gamer that the company “sees itself on both sides of the AI-generated art conversation.

“We’re creative ourselves. We have a lot of artists in the family. We’re a tool company, too. We support a lot of game developers,” said Sweeney.

“Some of them will use AI, some of them will hate AI, and we want to be a trustable neutral intermediary that doesn’t get in the way of industry development but also isn’t going off and hoovering up everybody’s art data,” added Sweeney.

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