Meta Generative Image AI Reportedly Struggles with Mixed-Race Couples


Generative AI is touted as the future but it’s far from that goal here in the present.

man in white and blue crew neck t-shirt wearing black sunglasses
Man in white and blue crew neck t-shirt wearing black sunglasses painting on canvas. Photo by Avi Richards

Stories like today’s headline illustrate that pretty clearly – and it’s not an isolated incident.

Google also had some similar issues with its generative AI; namely, these platforms are either outputting incorrect images or, in some cases, somewhat offensive imagery.

Reports indicate that Meta’s generative AI is struggling with the concept of mixed-race couples, or, more specifically, an East Asian man with a white woman. It isn’t lost on most photographers that this isn’t a problem most of us would encounter in the field since we don’t “imagine” subject matter but “capture” it – a fundamental difference often lost in this debate. Said a little more explicitly, generative AI imagery is fiction and photography is more reality (even if depicted in sometimes fantastical or unreal ways).

The AI seemed to struggle “in general” with couplings of this type, The Verge reports.

“Interestingly, the tool performed slightly better when I specified South Asian people. It successfully created an image using the prompt ‘South Asian man with Caucasian wife’ — before immediately creating an image of two South Asian people using the same prompt. The system also leaned heavily into stereotypes, like adding elements resembling a bindi and sari to the South Asian women it created without me asking for it.”

Again, while we understand the “point” behind generative imagery, we often have to wonder who wants this at the end of the day? After all, we just came off a whole “movement” in social media oriented around “authenticity” to be faced with content generated hot from the imagination of artificial intelligence. It’s an existential issue for some of us in the community, too, particularly those who rely upon photography to make a living.

Any thoughts that you might have on generative AI are welcome in the comments.

We have some other photography news to read at this link.

About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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