Last week, my social media feeds were swamped by AI-generated Disney Pixar-style avatars, a trend which is very popular. It seems that everyone was having a go at creating them. I didn’t find these pictures cute. I found them sinister. It was partly the illustration style – identikit characters with bulbous eyes, tiny reddened noses and syrupy colours – and partly the way that images produced by generative AI have wormed their way into the mainstream so that anyone can pretend to be an artist at the typing of a few prompts and clicks. Not only does generative AI infringe intellectual property, the ease and cheapness of production is threatening human-made creative arts. That same week, I heard of the following: an author specifying that a book cover be made without AI but then being sold an AI one by the designer; an author threatened with being kicked out of a promotion unless they changed their cover to one which used AI or stock images; yet more authors discovering that their work had used to train AI without their permission; and a group of artists attempting to sue the developers of AI creation tools for having scraped their artwork. When I search for books to read on Amazon, I see a lot of obviously AI-generated books, which are clearly intended as money-spinners but I hope the customers aren’t fooled. Going back to the Disney Pixar trend, no doubt a lot of people were doing this for fun and it doesn’t necessarily mean they support the use of generative AI images in the creative industries as a cheap alternative to paying real artists. However, I can’t help but be apprehensive about what the future holds as AI becomes increasingly embedded in literally everything. When I wrote the story ‘Art Club’ several months ago for my book After the Burning: Dystopian Stories, I thought the situation I portrayed was in the near future… now I reckon it’s just around the corner.