OpenAI partners with Shutterstock to start selling AI-generated images soon

Alfonso Maruccia

Posts: 193   +92
A hot potato: Shutterstock is bringing machine learning algorithms and AI-based "artworks" to its stock photo platform, making customers' creativity go wild and promising compensation for original artists. The debate about AI graphics is heating at an alarming rate.

While artists and content creators are still debating about the capabilities and the outcome of images generated by machine learning algorithms, Shutterstock has decided to push the market forward thanks to a new partnership with OpenAI. The two companies have been working together for some time now, Shutterstock has revealed, and the partnership will bring new creative tools to the industry while supporting artists at the same time.

The partnership is set to launch in the coming months, when the stock photography company dataset will integrate with AI image generation capabilities to let customers "instantly" generate images based on the specific criteria they set in their textual prompt. It's "Creativity at the Speed of Your Imagination," as Shutterstock called it in its official press release.

The upcoming image generating capabilities belong to DALL-E, OpenAI's intelligent algorithm which is bringing disruption in the creative content market together with Stable Diffusion and other machine learning ventures. It is a radical technology change that, according to Shutterstock, doesn't need to work against creators and artists' own interests.

The company will launch a fund to compensate the aforementioned artists, paying a fair share for the content used to train the generative models adopted by DALL-E. The training efforts have been going on since 2021 when OpenAI started using the company's images to improve their machine learning technology.

DALL-E CEO Sam Altman said the data licensed from Shutterstock "was critical to the training of DALL-E." The new customer-focused partnership will be instrumental to make artificial intelligence "an integral part of artists' creative workflows," Altman said. In Shutterstock's opinion, the AI-powered partnership will "create a new industry standard and unlock new revenue streams for the company's artist community."

Shutterstock has "a long history of integrating AI into every part" of the business, Shutterstock CEO Paul Hennessy said, thus making the company "the ideal partner to help our creative community navigate this new technology." AI is an innovation that will be grounded in strong ethical practices, Hennessy added, and every creator will be compensated when money is due.

Shutterstock's position isn't exactly the most popular one as the debate about AI-generated images keeps going. Getty Images, another giant in the stock images business, recently banned sales of AI-powered graphics, with the company's CEO describing the technology as dangerous and potentially illegal. Meanwhile, online art communities have started to resist AI content proliferation altogether.

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Posts: 152   +131
If money weren't involved, I think we would see a lot less debate on this. Reality is people view machine learning generated art as a possible threat to their livelihoods. I don't think that's a fair assessment. ML has a long ways to go before it can generate flawless (for lack of a better word) art, as well as highly specific art for general use (for example, art that would be used in a production that requires a specific asset). As with anything, the industry evolves, as too does artwork. In the end, there's no ethical issue here, merely economic issues, so I suspect the calls that these works are "dangerous" or "illegal" will ultimately fall by the wayside. How many artists will be harmed in the transition? Who knows. But that's not MLs fault, that's just economics.


Posts: 430   +304
I hope that AI which generated the artwork will be properly paid for its work. And that its human handlers won't keep all the profit for themselves.