Apple, AI Images Are So Ugly

Apple, AI Images Are So Ugly

During WWDC 2024 this week, Apple unveiled Apple Intelligence and with it a whole bunch of new features, including an AI image generator that puts a shiver down my spine.

Image Playground is Apple’s new foray into AI-generated images and this is the Cupertino company’s worst idea, full stop. Apple is following in the footsteps of Meta, Google and Microsoft with its own AI image generator and my only question is, why?

Because, when did I ask, actually when did anyone ask for this? There is something so haunting and foul about the types of AI-generated images that gives me the heebee jeebees.

According to Apple, Image Playground gives users the ability to “create fun images” where they can choose from three styles: animation, illustration or sketch. 

“With Image Playground, users can choose from a range of concepts from categories like themes, costumes, accessories, and places; type a description to define an image; choose someone from their personal photo library to include in their image; and pick their favourite style,” Apple explained. 

The example at WWDC 2024 they used was sending your mum a text calling her a hero and then creating an image in her likeness looking like a superhero. (See the above Tweet for that heinous example).

My colleague Zac and I got up early for WWDC and we were both so disappointed with this announcement. See below for our genuine thoughts.

Our live 4am reaction to Image Playground. Image: Athina Mallis

These images are harrowing and nightmare-inducing. But tech companies want to shove this type of image down our throats.

I was recently at a Meta briefing where they showed us Meta AI and how we can use their AI platform to create fun images with our friends on their various platforms. Meta reps told us its focus is image generation and the whole gist was around collaborating with your friends and family to make these images. But why?

No one asked for a computer to make us images. Sure we can be a bit silly and wacky, ask for some stupid scenarios and push the AI image generator to its limits but that to me seems to be the only use.

Most of the time when you use these types of AI image generators, they can’t properly make the image that you want, some of them can’t even produce letters from the English alphabet.

I asked Meta why they were doing this and the answer was very much “because we can”. 

Screenshot: Apple

But, again, who has asked for this type of image generation? AI-stans most likely have but the run-of-the-mill user has not. I know artists who make art for their livelihood aren’t thrilled about it. Even a recent AI-generated photo competition picked a real photograph as the major winner, which is very ironic.

The news of people hating AI art isn’t new and it has created some funny memes, but AI has also led to some pretty messed up things. Now I know I’m being negative about this, but this image generation hasn’t sat right with me, it didn’t sit right with me when my old boss forced us to use it as main article images and it doesn’t sit right with me now when every tech company is cramming this “fun” feature down our throats.

I hope that Apple kills this app over every other app they’re trying to kill. 

Image: Apple/Gizmodo Australia

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