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 (opens in new tab) "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:
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.
There's a new competitor to DALL-E out there: Google's Imagen.I don't have access to Imagen but I do have some of their example images. Let's do some side-by side comparisons.(left is Imagen, right is DALL-E) 1. "A blue jay standing on a large basket of rainbow macarons." pic.twitter.com/7qKzI1wW3bMay 25, 2022
does anyone else get a deep sense of dread from DALL-E or Imagen -type software?is there a reasonable expectation that the power of the underlying technology will remain directed towards "neat little image generation"? https://t.co/qb0LBYTQpRMay 26, 2022
"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.