Artificial intelligence (AI)-generated images have sparked controversy in recent years, and the decision of Midjourney, a popular AI tool, to discontinue its free trials has prompted discussions among journalists about who gets to control AI use.
“Due to a combination of extraordinary demand and trial abuse, we are temporarily disabling free trials until we have our next improvements to the system deployed,” said David Holz, Midjourney’s founder, in March.
Although Holz was not specific about what abuse had prompted the decision, he announced the change a few days after a series of false images, including one of former U.S. President Donald Trump being arrested and another of Pope Francis wearing a fashionable jacket, went viral online.
The decision to cancel free access to Midjourney highlights how AI-generated images have contributed to the spread of mis- and disinformation online, and the challenges journalists face with new AI technologies. Here’s what journalists should know: