Meta has started slowly rolling out its new AI-generated stickers for Messenger, and the results so far are totally unhinged.
The company, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, announced that it would be introducing AI tools to Messenger last week, starting with a limited rollout in the US. On Tuesday night, examples of the kinds of stickers the AI tool generates based on user prompts went viral, and it’s easy to see why. Montreal-based artist Pier-Olivier Desbiens posted a few examples, and they include: Nintendo character Waluigi holding a rifle, a Mickey Mouse-toilet hybrid, child soldiers, a nude Justin Trudeau bending over, and a busty Karl Marx wearing a dress. Desbiens used Meta’s tool to generate stickers of other well-known characters as well, such as a pregnant Shrek and Elmo holding a knife. Stickers generated by other users included Hilary Clinton in jail and President Xi Jinping morphed with Winnie the Pooh—a notorious insult directed at Xi by detractors.
It is somewhat staggering that a company as large as Meta would release AI tools into the wild with, apparently, so few guardrails that they generate images that could start an international incident. But this is an issue that affects all AI models—OpenAI built guardrails into its Dall-E series of image generation tools to prevent users from generating racy images, for example.
Due to the limited rollout of the AI stickers, Motherboard was not able to replicate it or attempt to generate new examples. We sent a request for comment to Meta on whether this behavior is intended (extremely doubtful), and will update this post if we hear back.
At a time when companies are attempting to use AI to replace human artists, as Marvel recently did with the opening to its Secret Invasion series, something as janky and outrageous and open to freewheeling human manipulation as Meta’s deranged AI stickers is almost welcome. Surely, it will not last long.
Meta is rolling out several other AI-based tools as it continues to seek stable footing after a “metaverse” rebrand that has so far yielded few results. It plans on releasing chatbots that will have “personalities”; for example, one will be based on YouTuber MrBeast playing an older brother who will “roast you.” We’ll see if that works out any better.
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