The fast-improving and increasingly popular AI image generator Midjourney has officially stopped access to its free trial version since this week, citing user abuse of the system.
Coincidentally, controversial deepfakes created with the latest version of this tool went viral and made headlines all over the world in recent days, calling attention to its relaxed user policies.
I'll tell you more; read on.
As originally picked up by the Washington Post, Midjourney's CEO David Hotz made an announcement on Discord on Tuesday, March 28th, informing that they were shutting down the free trial for the AI image generator. He spoke of an “extraordinary demand and trial abuse.”
Later on, in declarations to The Verge, Hotz expanded and explained that they had experienced a GPU shortage and an abnormally large number of free trial accounts in a short span of time that responded to users activating multiple trials through throwaway emails. Canceling the free trial altogether was the way they solved the problem.
The announcement from Midjourney came merely days after some very realistic and controversial AI-generated photos went viral online and caused misinformation and a flood of questioning and negative commentary about the tool. We are talking about the fake photos of Donald Trump's arrest and the viral images of Pope Francis wearing a modern “puffer” jacket.
From Midjourney, they stated the discontinuation of free access to the platform has nothing to do with those events. In fact, they made a good point in that those images were created with Midjourney 5, their latest version of the generative model that produces incredibly realistic pictures, which has never been available for free users.
However, it's relevant how those viral AI photos have sparked not only fake news but also a renovated debate over the ethics and legality of AI image generators, particularly over the insufficient regulation of user content by Midjourney.
Let's not forget that this company is already in the eye of the storm, as it's been sued not only by a trio of artists in a class-action lawsuit but also by none other than Getty Images for copyright infringement in both cases.
One thing is clear: it is every day more necessary to know how to spot an AI-generated image. Learn 4 simple ways to identify AI-generated images, especially with AI Image Generator Midjourney stopping free trials due to the viral deep fakes situation.
Well, Elon Musk thinks so. The celebrity tech entrepreneur -one of the founders of Dall-E, a competitor to Midjourney- has recently co-authored an open letter addressed to AI tech labs, calling for them to halt the training of AI generative software past OpenAI's recently launched GPT-4. He made the request arguing going at this pace, AI tech could become a “risk to society.”
Interestingly, the situation with Midjourney 5's photorealistic imagery and lax content monitoring seems to support this argument. Manipulating a famous person's likeness and public opinion so greatly seems to infringe on more than one person's rights. Yet, the legal frame for AI imagery and the tools that produce them is under-defined, and the rules are less than clear.
What do you think about deepfakes and the closing of Midjourney's free trials?
If you want extra info on this issue, you can read a more detailed article here on Aisecrets.com.