Meta Unleashes Generative AI Magic with Imagine Platform Launch
Amidst the buzz around Google’s new AI chatbot, Meta quietly rolled out its own free image generator called Imagine. No need to be a Meta user – simply sign up with your email. Enter any text prompt and Imagine will crank out four high-res JPEG images to download, each marked by an AI watermark.
We took it for a spin, pleasantly surprised that it can even generate copyrighted characters like Homer Simpson and Mickey Mouse with no restrictions. But while the results impressed, they weren’t flawless – Homer looked glitchy and bizarre in parts.
Powering Imagine is Meta’s 1.1 billion image-trained Emu AI model, sourced from public Facebook and Instagram posts per a Reuters interview. With so much data ingested, Meta aimed to keep things PG, blocking violent, sexual or celebrity-focused prompts.
Yet their filters clearly aren’t foolproof. We easily sidestepped the Barack Obama ban by prompting “a former US president,” yielding a pretty convincing Obama-esque guy. Meta plans invisible watermarks to boost “traceability” down the road – but that feels too little, too late with misuse potential so high right now.
Meta remains worried about ethical hazards, but gaps persist. For an AI fed such a firehose of social data, stricter inner guardrails seem essential, especially on the brink of public release. Then again, perfection is tough when you’ve taught an algorithm to create images from over a billion real people’s digital footprints – uncanny imagery included.
In closing, I applaud Meta for democratizing AI image generation, imperfections and all. But if they aim to act responsibly, more oversight checks are needed on Imagine – and fast. When an AI becomes fluent in copying the world it’s learned from – warts, flaws and all – ethics have to come before showmanship.