Last spring, an artificial intelligence lab called OpenAI unveiled technology that lets you create digital images simply by describing what you want to see. Called DALL-E, it sparked a wave of similar tools with names like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion. Promising to speed the work of digital artists, this new breed of AI captured the imagination of both the public and the pundits — and threatened to generate new levels of online disinformation.
Social media is now teeming with the surprisingly conceptual, in which shockingly detailed, often photorealistic images are generated by DALL-E and other tools. “Photo of a teddy bear riding a skateboard in Times Square.” “Cute corgi in a house made out of sushi.” “Jeflon Zuckergates.”