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DENR’s digital art-making contest under scrutiny: AI-generated entry sparks controversy

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) found itself at the center of controversy after it was revealed that an AI-generated image was one of the entries for its CALABARZON unit’s “Digital Art-Making Contest on World Wetlands Day 2024.”

The revelation came to light when the DENR CALABARZON Facebook Page posted the questionable entry, labeled as ‘Entry No. 1-A Symphony of Sustainability, Protection, and Education’, prompting a swift and varied response from social media users. The contest, initiated under the banner of “Digital Art-Making Contest on World Wetlands Day 2024,” aimed to encourage artists to showcase their talents in highlighting environmental issues through digital art.

via Facebook

via Facebook

via Facebook

The uploaded image, created using AI technology, raised eyebrows among the Filipino online community, with users expressing skepticism and disappointment. Various comments flooded the post, pointing out the unmistakable features of AI-generated art. Some remarks included phrases like “Halata ang AI HAHAHAHAHAH [AI is evident, hahaha)”, “DENR CALABARZON why is AI art allowed? This should be grounds for disqualification,” and the straightforward “A.I art? Ew.”

The controversy has ignited discussions on the integrity of the competition, with concerns about the submission criteria and whether AI should be permitted in a contest calling for human creativity. Critics argue that the essence of the contest, which is to showcase the artistic expression and environmental awareness of participants, may be compromised when AI-generated entries are accepted.

The DENR CALABARZON Facebook Page has not issued an official statement addressing the controversy at this time. However, as the debate unfolds on social media, there is an increasing demand for transparency and clarity regarding the guidelines and acceptance criteria for the contest.

Amid the controversy, some social media users are crediting the rightful AI generator for their contribution to the competition, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging the tools used in the creation process.

The incident has prompted discussions on the intersection of technology and traditional art forms, sparking a broader conversation about the role of AI in creative endeavors and the ethical considerations surrounding its usage in art competitions.

As the DENR faces scrutiny over the AI-generated entry, it remains to be seen how the department will respond to the growing concerns and whether adjustments to the contest’s guidelines will be made to address the controversy and maintain the integrity of the “Digital Art-Making Contest on World Wetlands Day 2024.”



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