The success of text-to-image AIs raises major ethical issues

Apps that create images based on text can deliver amazing results, but there are problems with the data sets some are trained on and the lack of compensation for artists, says Annalee Newitz

Technology | Columnist 12 October 2022

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Midjourney/Annalee Newitz

IT ALL started when I typed a perfectly reasonable prompt into Midjourney, one of several apps on the market that can create an image based on text. “Skull space laser dinosaur starship explosion,” I wrote. Midjourney processed for a few seconds, and returned four images, one of which was strangely accurate: a dinosaur-looking skull screamed out of the void of space, trailing fire (pictured, above). It resembled an illustration from Heavy Metal magazine, and perhaps art from the magazine influenced its creation.

You see, Midjourney and similar products like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion and Make-A-Video work their magic – translating …

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