Pocket worthyStories to fuel your mind

The Great AI Backlash Is Here

As the generative AI boom continues, WIRED is tracking the fight to make sure humans aren’t left behind.

Pocket Collections

Read when you’ve got time to spare.

In partnership with

The generative AI boom is in full swing now. Some people are thrilled. Others, not so much.

At WIRED, I’ve been covering the resistance to artificial intelligence in the arts. A growing community of writers, programmers, artists, musicians, lawyers, researchers, policymakers, and regular concerned citizens is coalescing to look at this moment critically, to ask tough questions, and to advocate for guardrails to make sure that technological progress doesn’t destroy creative industries. Is scraping the web for training data ethical? Who gets to decide whether AI art is any good? How should copyright law apply to AI-generated work?

This collection gathers some of these stories, and I hope it will help you better understand what’s at stake in this moment, and why people feel so compelled to fight for a different future than the one envisioned by Big Tech.

Image Credit: SENRYU / Getty Images

Meet the Lawyer Leading the Human Resistance Against AI

Kate Knibbs

“I flew to San Francisco this fall to meet the man behind the first wave of class action lawsuits against generative AI companies on behalf of artists, writers, and programmers. Matthew Butterick is one of the leaders of this “human resistance,” and an important figure to know. (It’s completely unclear whether he’ll win his cases, of course!)” - Kate Knibbs

The Andy Warhol Copyright Case That Could Transform Generative AI

Madeline Ashby

KK: “Last spring, Madeleine Ashby wrote this terrific explainer for WIRED about how a Supreme Court case about Andy Warhol’s art—one which has nothing to do on the surface with artificial intelligence—might be crucial to future fights over AI and ownership.”

Why the Great AI Backlash Came for a Tiny Startup You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Kate Knibbs

KK: “I started reporting this story after I saw writers I admire complaining about a startup I’d never heard of stealing their work on social media. I ended up spending over a week interviewing people, including the owner of the controversial startup, and realizing that this was a minor conflict with major implications. It was the first time I really understood the battle lines being drawn.”

The Battle Over Books3 Could Change AI Forever

Kate Knibbs

KK: “ I dug into the creation of Books3, and the fight to stop AI companies from using its pilfered dataset. It was wild to see how far apart some of my sources were on the ethics of web scraping. Books3 creator Shawn Presser, who I interviewed at length, really believes he’s doing a service to the scientific community. His critics think he’s helping to kill writing as we know it.”

‘Life or Death:’ AI-Generated Mushroom Foraging Books Are All Over Amazon

Samantha Cole

KK: “The fantastic new worker-owned tech outlet 404 Media broke the story of an especially alarming trend in AI-generated publishing. This story really drives home how much AI slime clogging up the internet might actually make our lives worse. (Or, if we’re unwise enough to take foraging advice from a robot, straight-up kill us.)”

Why Does AI Art Look Like a ’70s Prog-Rock Album Cover?

Kate Knibbs

KK: “When I pitched this story, I just wanted to know why AI art looked so corny. I ended up having an extremely illuminating conversation with artist Amelia Winger-Bearskin, who I quote in this story, about how AI art’s greatest aesthetic contribution might be in the ways it pushes humans to rebel against it, in the way that the rise of photography inspired abstract expressionism. We’ll see!”

Kate Knibbs

Kate Knibbs is a senior writer at WIRED, covering culture. She was previously a writer at The Ringer and Gizmodo.