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Shutterstock Expands OpenAI Partnership, Touts AI Content Capabilities

Photo by Vincentas Liskauskas / Unsplash

Stock photography giant Shutterstock has pledged to expand its partnership with artificial intelligence laboratory OpenAI, with a view to bringing AI-generated creative tools to the platform.

The publicly-traded company says it will ensure AI-generated content capabilities are delivered in a responsible and transparent manner, and launched a fund to compensate artists for their contributions to AI models.

Shutterstock Embraces AI Potential

The expansion of the pair's partnership will allow customers to instantly produce images based on their own criteria, a service Shutterstock calls 'Creativity at the Speed of Your Imagination.’ The integration is expected to launch on over the coming months.

“The mediums to express creativity are constantly evolving and expanding, and we recognize that it is our great responsibility to embrace this evolution and ensure that the generative technology that drives innovation is grounded in ethical practices,” said Paul Hennessy, the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

“We have a long history of integrating AI into every part of our business. This expert-level competency makes Shutterstock the ideal partner to help our creative community navigate this new technology. And we're committed to developing best practices and experiences to deliver on our purpose, which is to empower the world to create with confidence.”

Shutterstock first joined forces with OpenAI last October, with their first collaboration focused on creating AI-generated images using the DALL-E API. In essence, the link-up enables users to generate images based on text prompts, leveraging OpenAI’s deep learning image-generating service.

The deepening of the companies' collaboration will see further advanced creative tools come to Shutterstock, with artists incentivized to contribute to a suite of AI datasets. Soon, all of the platform’s users will gain access to AI image generation capabilities to level up their creative workflows.

While the news has been welcomed by some, the ability to generate photorealistic, detailed imagery has given rise to fears that photographers might become obsolete. Of course, the photo licensing service has confirmed that AI-generated images will be sold alongside those created by humans, rather than replacing them entirely.

And Shutterstock’s rivals also seem set to get in on the act. Although it last year banned the sale of AI-generated artwork, Getty Images has struck its own partnership with Bria to create AI-powered editing tools that can augment existing images.

Bria, an Israeli developer of proprietary AI visual content tools, says it will help Getty rapidly deploy “AI-powered features across their platform, enabling their customers to quickly and easily get to their ideal image no matter what their use case or project.”