AI is designing marketing art. Here’s what you should know

If you can’t beat them: Last week, Shutterstock announced a partnership with OpenAI, integrating the DALL-E 2 text-to-image AI generator into its platform.

  • Shutterstock and Getty Images originally banned AI-generated images due to copyright concerns. Now, the threat of AI coming for stock photos is even greater.
  • Shutterstock’s new aim is a legal risk, because legal claim and compensation for AI-generated art is far from settled. But the partnership is necessary in a world where a computer can generate an image of a woman laughing alone with salad faster and cheaper than a photography team.

DALL-E who? The image generator has impressive potential for generating images in artists’ styles. But the living, working artists it mimics aren’t seeing the benefits.

  • A user can type in “three bears in top hats at the circus balancing on one giant ball in the style of Van Gogh” and generate that image in seconds. That also means they can request the style of contemporary artists and take credit for their style—without the artist ever seeing a cent.
  • A spokesperson for the US Copyright Office said AI art lacks the human authorship necessary to support a copyright claim, according to Insider.

AI yai yai: As with all new technologies, AI art presents opportunities for misinformation and disinformation.

  • Take Runway’s AI Magic Tool, for example, which allows users to type text and alter existing images. Tech journalist Ryan Broderick wrote of the mechanism, “I’ve definitely reached a point with AI tools where I’m now having to actively suppress my anxiety about what this stuff can do.”
  • And it’s not just about sinister deepfakes. AI can alter perceptions of reality simply by making every photo look good, presenting a digital world where everything appears amazing and ugliness does not and has never existed.

Is that new? No. Digital and physical media have always been altered. But now it can happen faster and more often.

  • On sites where everyone from politicians to platform owners are sharing misinformation, that creates liability for advertisers’ brand safety.

What should advertisers take away from this? AI is here to stay.

  • Tech writer Brian Morrissey described the future of AI in The Rebooting, saying, “In the best scenario, we will become super-empowered and even more barriers to media creation will be eliminated. In the worst case, we’ll have bots writing for bots, monetized by bots.”
  • “The laborious work of digital merchandising will be fundamentally changed by AI,” writes media executive Troy Young in People vs. Algorithms. “AI will write a chapter where media targeting and optimization decisions disappear behind the algorithm.”
  • As for potential dangers of AI progress, IBM’s chief scientist Grady Booch put it this way, according to Big Technology: “Much like nuclear weapons, the cat is out of the bag.” That’s reassuring.

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