But is it art?

Shiv Integer Bot Inflitrates Thingiverse, Stirs Up Controversy

Shiv Integer

Thingiverse “maker” Shiv Integer is causing a huge controversy with its ridiculous mash-up designs…is it art or a Terms of Use breach?

One maker is causing controversy in the Thingiverse. Shiv Integer is not exactly unknown on the platform and has already made nearly 300 designs. The catch? It’s a bot.

Apparently this is "Simple dragon dice" courtesy of Shiv Integer bot
Apparently this is “Simple dragon dice” courtesy of Shiv Integer bot

The Shiv Integer bot has been operating anonymously since February, racking up followers and haters. Many even assumed it was actually a spambot, which would make plenty of sense. All the bot does is mash up different designs, creating glitchy nonsense that looks like a weird modern art exhibit.

Mashup Bot Gets Serious Backlash

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This is a “Printable Ball Mounting”, of course (image: Thingiverse)

When Matthew Plummer-Fernandez and Julien Deswaef took credit for Shiv Integer at their exhibit The Art of Bots, the controversy came to a head. The project pushed the envelope by asking “what is art?” and “can robots make art?” Moreover, while the bot’s “art” abilities are up for debate, Shiv Integer did adhere to Creative Commons copyright licensing. So why are there still hundreds of complaints and haters in the Thingiverse community? Several reasons…

  • Thingiverse explicitly forbids bots and site scraping in its Terms of Use. Even though copyright was properly addressed, the bot’s existence is still a violation.
  • Over-proliferation. Because the bot is neither creating designs from scratch nor using an ordinary human brain, it’s able to upload several designs every day. This means it takes up more space on the front page and detracts from actual makers who spends hours, days, weeks or months creating just one design.
  • Endless remixes means endless notifications. Even if designers enjoy seeing their work get remixed, they don’t enjoy the endless, spammy email notifications that follow.
Can robots make art? Can they do it without angering makers? (Image: Shive Integer)
Can robots make art? Can they do it without angering makers? (Image: Shive Integer)

Some Thingiverse makers have since suggested that the Shiv Integer be moved to another website, where it wouldn’t cause such a ruckus, which actually sounds like a reasonable request. The artists, however, have yet to respond or address the community’s concern… which is surprising, considering their work is 100% dependent on these users.

While the resulting art is pretty intriguing—especially the random mash-up names, which include “Sweet compound hummingbird” and “Platform on top of a Chuck.”

(Via: 3ders)