Shutterstock Has Launched Its Generative AI Image Tool

AI generated image of a robot paint job

I asked the robot to draw a picture of a robot drawing a picture of a robot. It didn’t go well.
picture: Shutterstock AI (Shutterstock)

Shutterstock, one of the web’s largest sources of stock photos and illustrations, now offers its customers the ability to create their own AI images. In October the company announced a partnership with OpenAI, creator of the hugely popular and controversial AI tool DALL-E. Now the results of this offer are in beta testing and available to all paying Shutterstock users.

The new platform is available in “any language the site offers” and is included in customers’ existing license packages, according to the company a press statement by the company. And according to Gizmodo’s own test, every text prompt you type into Shutterstock’s engine results in four images that are said to be tailored to your request. At the bottom of the page, the site also suggests “More AI-generated images from the Shutterstock library,” which offer unrelated glimpses of the void.

Screenshot of the Shutterstock website

Bluebird: check. Waterfall: check. Flowers: check. Royalty-free Björk: check. Three white men with identical haircuts just before ????: Check.
screenshot: Shutterstock/Gizmodo

But be warned before you jump at the chance to replace all your standard stock image favorites with AI constructs: the idea of ​​using artificial intelligence to produce “art” is increasingly divisive. Generative AI is a landscape of potential legal and ethical complications.

Why all the worry?

Every AI is trained on datasets, that is, massive accumulations of material that teach it what to aim for. And for AI image generators, these training sets contain images made by humans—often human artists whose work is their livelihood.

Several recent lawsuits were raised against the AI ​​art generator Stable Diffusion, and other Per Copyright Infringement. And there is still no clear precedent for how these cases will be handled.

One of Shutterstock’s main competitors, Getty Images, said it would not wade soon into the murky waters of the AI. the page locked AI generated images on its platform. And in terms of technology, Craig Peters, Getty’s CEO said, “I think that’s dangerous. I don’t think it’s responsible. I think it might be illegal”, in an interview with The Edge.

It is obvious that the AI ​​must draw its “inspiration” from the work of real, living people. But pinpointing when and where AI generators steal from visual artists is difficult. Artistic style can interpret appear subjective. On the other hand, the plagiarism of AI are much clearer– albeit not more egregious – in AI-produced text. It’s clear that artificial intelligence, if not carefully approached, could pave the way for a theft crisis in creative fields.

How is Shutterstock trying to work around the problem?

To address copyright and artistic ethics concerns, Shutterstock offers has said it uses “Shutterstock licensed datasets‘ to train its AI powered by DALL-E and LG EXAONE. The company also claims it will pay artists whose work will be used in its AI generation. Shutterstock plans to do so through a “contribution fund”.

This fund “will compensate Shutterstock employees directly when their intellectual property has been used in the development of AI generative models such as the OpenAI model by licensing data from Shutterstock’s library,” the company states in a FAQ section on his website. “Shutterstock will continue to compensate contributors for future licensing of AI-generated content through Shutterstock’s AI content generation tool,” it said.

The first payout to contributing creators should be paid in December, at the end of the company’s final fiscal quarter of 2022. It’s unclear how many contributors have been paid over the past month and how much, if any, has been paid out. Gizmodo reached out to Shutterstock with questions about this process, but didn’t immediately receive a response.

Additionally, Shutterstock includes a clever caveat in its usage guidelines for AI images. “You may not use the generated image to infringe, abuse, or violate the intellectual property or other rights of any third party, to generate spam, false, misleading, deceptive, harmful, or violent images.” the company states. And while I’m not a legal expert, this clause seems to oblige the customer not to get into trouble. If a generated image contains a recognizable piece of trademarked material or spits out the likeness of a celebrity, it is up to the Shutterstock tool user to notice the offending content and avoid reposting.

But does it work?

As far as effectiveness goes, Gizmodo needed five different prompts, akin to “robot draws a picture of a robot” before the AI ​​actually spat out something close enough to the concept. Again, each results page offers four AI-generated options. Of the total of twenty images produced by the machine, only the one included at the top of this post clearly showed a depiction of a robot holding a drawing/painting. The others were… a mixed bag.

Screenshot of Shutterstock AI results

The one on the far left almost made it. It’s just that annoying human hand that ruins the “art”.
screenshot: Shutterstock/Gizmodo

I think I’ll stick with Shutterstock’s standard offerings for now and for the foreseeable future. Shutterstock Has Launched Its Generative AI Image Tool

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