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Midjourney's AI Image-Generator Restricts Biden and Trump Images Pre-Election

Donald Trump and Joe Biden Face off in 2024 U.S. Election
Current United States President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump

The AI image-generator Midjourney, renowned for its capability to create lifelike images, has recently implemented restrictions preventing the generation of images depicting President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. This move comes as a precautionary measure in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election. The Associated Press discovered these restrictions during tests, which now trigger a "Banned Prompt Detected" alert when users attempt to create such images.

Midjourney's CEO, David Holz, expressed the need to temporarily tighten regulations around election-related content to avoid misuse of the AI tool, although specific details of the policy changes were not disclosed. The small-scale company, consisting of only 11 employees, has historically been less vocal in public discussions about the potential for generative AI tools to propagate election misinformation.

Contrary to other AI image-generating platforms, Midjourney had not participated in a voluntary tech industry agreement aimed at countering AI-generated deepfakes that could mislead voters. Recent evaluations by the Center for Countering Digital Hate highlighted Midjourney's leniency in creating convincing political figures, which posed a significant risk in spreading election-related disinformation. The platform, uniquely interactive through the social media site Discord, enables a large community to view and share AI-generated images, thereby increasing the potential for widespread distribution of such content.

Holz emphasized the service's non-alignment with political discourse, focusing instead on the broader use of AI technology. He hinted at the inevitable advancement of deepfake technology and its implications for future electoral processes, suggesting a transformative shift in how political campaigns might operate.

Midjourney, which positions itself as an independent research lab, has been proactive in moderating content to prevent misuse while allowing a vast range of creative outputs. The company’s approach, blending moderation with innovation, reflects a cautious yet forward-thinking engagement with the rapidly evolving landscape of generative AI technology.

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