Shutterstock partners with OpenAI to sell AI-generated artwork, compensate artists

Enlarge / The Shutterstock logo over an image generated by DALL-E. (credit: Shutterstock / OpenAI)

Today, Shutterstock announced that it has partnered with OpenAI to provide AI image synthesis services using the DALL-E API. Once the service is available, the firm says it will allow customers to generate images based on text prompts. Responding to prevailing ethical criticism of AI-generated artwork, Shutterstock also says it will compensate artists “whose works have contributed to develop the AI models.”

DALL-E is a commercial deep learning image synthesis product created by OpenAI that can generate new images in almost any artistic style based on text descriptions (called “prompts”) by the person who wants to create the image. If you type “an astronaut riding a horse,” DALL-E will create an image of an astronaut on a horse.

DALL-E and other image synthesis models, such as Midjourney and Stable Diffusion, have ignited a passionate response from artists who fear their livelihoods might be threatened by the new technology. In addition, the image synthesis models have “learned” to generate images by analyzing the work of human artists found on the web without artist consent.

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