Friday, September 30, 2022

AI can now create any image in seconds

From The Washington Post.

None of these photos were taken by a camera. All of these images were created by the artificial intelligence text-to-image generator DALL-E. Named for Salvador Dali and Pixar’s WALL-E, DALL-E creates images based on prompts such as:
  • “A hobbit house designed by Zaha [H]adid.”
  • “A woman in a red coat looking up at the sky in the middle of Times Square.”
  • “Red and yellow bell peppers in a bowl with a floral pattern on a green rug photo.”

Since the research lab OpenAI debuted the latest version of DALL-E in April, the AI has dazzled the public, attracting digital artists, graphic designers, early adopters, and anyone in search of online distraction. 

The ability to create original, sometimes accurate, and occasionally inspired images from any spur-of-the-moment phrase, like a conversational Photoshop, has startled even jaded internet users with how quickly AI has progressed.

Five months later, 1.5 million users are generating 2 million images a day. 

On Wednesday, OpenAI said it removed its waitlist for DALL-E, giving anyone immediate access.

The introduction of DALL-E has triggered an explosion of text-to-image generators. 

Google and Meta quickly revealed that they had each been developing similar systems, but said their models weren’t ready for the public. 

Rival start-ups soon went public, including Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, which created the image that sparked controversy in August when it won an art competition at the Colorado State Fair.

 “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” submitted by Jason Allen

The technology is now spreading rapidly, faster than AI companies can shape norms around its use and prevent dangerous outcomes. 

Researchers worry that these systems produce images that can cause a range of harms, such as reinforcing racial and gender stereotypes or plagiarizing artists whose work was siphoned without their consent. 

Fake photos could be used to enable bullying and harassment — or create disinformation that looks real.

Historically, people trust what they see, said Wael Abd-Almageed, a professor at the University of Southern California’s school of engineering. 
“Once the line between truth and fake is eroded, everything will become fake. We will not be able to believe anything.”
OpenAI has tried to balance its drive to be first and hype its AI developments without accelerating those dangers. 

To prevent DALL-E from being used to create disinformation, for example, OpenAI prohibits images of celebrities or politicians. 

OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman justifies the decision to release DALL-E to the public as an essential step in developing the technology safely.

“You have to learn from contact with reality,” Altman said. “What users want to do with it, the ways that it breaks.”

But OpenAI’s ability to lead by example has been eroded by upstarts, some of which have opened their code for anyone to copy. 

Complex debates OpenAI had hoped to defer to the future have become much more immediate concerns.

“The question OpenAI should ask itself is: Do we think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?” said UC Berkeley professor Hany Farid, who specializes in digital forensics, computer vision, and misinformation. 

“It’s not the early days of the internet anymore, where we can’t see what the bad things are.”

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