We had a twitter storm spin up over the winner of the blogger vote in the #SPFBO cover contest. A "fun" minor addition to the SPFBO contest, which is, of course, all about the words.
The entry form asked each author
and any answer to the AI question other than "no" meant that the cover wasn't considered for the contest.
The author of the winning cover answered "no".
People on Twitter started to dispute that no with some vigour. The artist came on to confirm the 'no' and was called a liar.
I reached out to the author and artist for further confirmation. I emphasised privately to the artist that if it was true, deliberately or through some mistake with the form, they should just come clean and we could all move on. But they were adamant that no AI had been involved. I gave multiple opportunities to U-turn on this.
The non-verbal part of the artist's confirmation had to wait on the artist getting home from work and getting access to their images.
So - we're at the stage in civilisation where an artist can be called upon to prove they really created an image. I fully understand why. It also seems reasonable that a non-professional artist at their day job could require a few hours to get home and assemble such evidence. So we waited.
Sean supplied a bunch of sketches and photos along with an explanation of how he created the cover using these resources and photoshop - he also supplied the many-layered photoshop file for the cover.
I showed those to the SPFBO judges and the 2,500 members of the SPFBO facebook group, and the overwhelming response was that they were convinced. Not one person said they were sure that it was AI generated.
So, around 1am I shared the link to this page on twitter. People there still weren't convinced. At 2am, in response to my increasing distress over the situation Sean removed the cover from the contest, and I was able adjust the competition result and get to bed.
I've woken up to compelling evidence that the cover was at least partly AI generated, breaking the rules of the contest. So, in addition to having been withdrawn, it's now also disqualified under the existing rules.
There won't be a cover contest going forward.