AI Art Is About To Get Sharper, Better Looking, Less Porny

Stability AI, the developers behind popular AI-generated art program Stable Diffusion, released a major update to the software on Thursday, European time (Wednesday night in the US). The updated software, which creates images from a text prompt — for example, “An astronaut making a sand castle” — is widely available on Microsoft’s popular programming site GitHub. It focuses on features like higher-resolution and more detailed images. It also answers some concerns about the technology, making it harder for people to create AI-generated porn.

The original Stable Diffusion V1, the team said, “changed the nature of open source AI models and spawned hundreds of other models and innovations worldwide.” It was wide released earlier this yeararound the same time as competitors Midjourney and Dall-E 2, which Microsoft is building into its Office productivity software to help generate artistic renderings for documents and presentations.

AI-art technology creates images based on text prompts like, “a painting of hipster dogs playing poker, in the style of Tomma Abts.” It then feeds those prompts into a program that’s designed to recognize patterns in immense quantities of real-world data. The result is upending the art and tech worlds, where AI-generated imagery and videos have raised questions about what constitutes art and who should own a copyright to it. Celebrities and famous artists have also raised concerns that their likeness and signature styles could be misappropriated by these programs, potentially changing the perception of them and their work.

Those issues rose to public prominence when a Colorado man won a digital art contest with an AI work from Midjourney this Summer. Shortly after, image licensor Getty Images banned AI-generated creations.

Stable Diffusion attempts to solve some concerns by including less understanding of celebrity’s likenesses, for example. The company also reduced the likelihood people could create AI-generated nudity and porn, which The Verge reported that some critics likened to a form of censorship.

Stability AI said that in addition to publicly releasing its code, the company plans to offer access to its software running on its own computers in the coming days.

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