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AI-Generated Images: The Future Of The Stock Photo Industry?

AI-Generated Images: The Future Of The Stock Photo Industry?

2022 was a year of lots of things, most of them awful. But some were more controversial than others, like the emergence of AI-generated images. The concept is not new, but now every one of us got access to next-gen tech. Even more, companies like Shutterstock are preparing to start selling AI artwork. What is going on?

The stock industry is massive, and we, as a web design agency, use stock images quite often. Millions of artists earn money that way, but the emergence of AI-generated images scares them all. And for a good reason: the technology is already very good. In the future, it can potentially replace most artists. Or not?

Most people agree that panic is not warranted. And yet, Shutterstock’s deal with OpenAI is disconcerting. “The mediums to express creativity are constantly evolving and expanding. We recognize that it is our great responsibility to embrace this evolution and to ensure that the generative technology that drives innovation is grounded in ethical practices,” said Shutterstock’s SEO Paul Hennessy.

Worrying? Quote so. Anticipating people’s reactions, Shutterstock also launches Contributor Fund to pay artists when their work is being used by AI firms. It’s something, we guess? But definitely not enough to alleviate the sense of dread. Especially since the artists CAN NOT opt out of it: their images can and will feed the algorithm, which makes the situation all the more depressing.

Some big companies like Getty Images outright ban AI images which they fear will inevitably break the copyright law. Right now, it’s too early to say whether AI images will create more problems than solutions. We asked some experts, and most of them shrug — wait and see, they say. For now and for the foreseeable future, the creatives’ jobs are safe. But the battle is only starting.

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