Oh great, now Google has a terrifying AI image generator

Google Imagen
AI images created with Google Imagen (Image credit: Google)

Just a few weeks ago, the art world was, to use internet parlance, 'shooketh' by the power of OpenAI's DALL·E 2, which can transform written phrases and sentences into terrifyingly accurate AI-generated images. And now it looks like it has competition, courtesy of a little-known tech company called Google.

Google has just announced its own text-to-image generator, titled 'Imagen' (John Lennon would be proud), and it's perhaps even more impressive than DALL·E 2. One thing's for sure – AI image generators are here to stay. Because who needs to download Photoshop when Google can create any image you like? 

Google calls Imagen "a text-to-image diffusion model with an unprecedented degree of photorealism and a deep level of language understanding." As with DALL·E 2, the best way to describe the tool is simply to show you some images – and the text prompts that generated them:

Click to enlarge (Image credit: Google)

Click to enlarge (Image credit: Google)

Much like OpenAI, Google has decided not to release the tech to the public – for now. "The potential risks of misuse raise concerns regarding responsible open-sourcing of code and demos," Google says. "At this time we have decided not to release code or a public demo. In future work we will explore a framework for responsible externalisation that balances the value of external auditing with the risks of unrestricted open-access." 

But just like when DALL·E 2 emerged last month, Imagen is provoking both awe and apprehension online. Scary deepfakes are one thing, but the ability to create an image from scratch is another level of AI.

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"Not gonna lie, didn't expect "illustrators" to be one of the first human jobs that artificial intelligence completely displaces but here we are," one user tweeted when DALL·E 2 was announced, and another added, "The implication of AI replacing artists was always there, and now the day has unfortunately come."

We wouldn't go that far – while the tools are impressive, the results are still pretty random. But like the most terrifying deepfakes, it's the potential for misinformation that's scary – AI content creation clearly isn't going anywhere, and the results are only becoming more impressive. 

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).