Ethical AI art generation? Adobe Firefly may be the answer.

Adobe Firefly AI image generator example.
Enlarge / An Adobe Firefly AI image generator example.

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On Tuesday, Adobe unveiled Firefly, its new AI image synthesis generator. Unlike other AI art models such as Stable Diffusion and DALL-E, Adobe says its Firefly engine, which can generate new images from text descriptions, has been trained solely on legal and ethical sources, making its output clear for use by commercial artists. It will be integrated directly into Creative Cloud, but for now, it is only available as a beta.

Since the mainstream debut of image synthesis models last year, the field has been fraught with issues around ethics and copyright. For example, the AI art generator called Stable Diffusion gained its ability to generate images from text descriptions after researchers trained an AI model to analyze hundreds of millions of images scraped from the Internet. Many (probably most) of those images were copyrighted and obtained without the consent of their rights holders, which led to lawsuits and protests from artists.

To avoid those legal and ethical issues, Adobe created an AI art generator trained solely on Adobe Stock images, openly licensed content, and public domain content, ensuring the generated content is safe for commercial use. Adobe goes into more detail in its news release:

Firefly website show various capabilities, including “text to image” (creating unique images from a text description), “text effects” (applying styles or textures with a text prompt), and “recolor vectors” (creating unique variations of a work from a text description).

Whether artists will adopt Firefly into their workflows remains to be seen, but the new AI model seems, on its face, like a positive step forward for AI ethics advocates. As always, we’ll need to take Adobe’s claims with a grain of salt, and we’ll keep you updated as new details emerge.

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