Adobe Stock Contains Generative Images of War and Horror

Cam Wilson, Crikey:

People searching Adobe Stock are shown a blend of real and AI-generated images. Like “real” stock images, some are clearly staged, whereas others can seem like authentic, unstaged photography. 

This is true of Adobe Stock’s collection of images for searches relating to Israel, Palestine, Gaza and Hamas. For example, the first image shown when searching for Palestine is a photorealistic image of a missile attack on a cityscape titled “Conflict between Israel and Palestine generative AI”. Other images show protests, on-the-ground conflict and even children running away from bomb blasts — all of which aren’t real.

This is also true of other search terms — for Russia and Ukraine, for September 11, and for World War II. It seems that there are a couple of points of failure here, the first of which is that Adobe should not permit generated images in its stock photo collection which purport to be from real-life events. This should be true for anything photorealistic but a blanket rule would be fine too; there is no need for a computer-made watercolour image which is supposedly of a real place or event.

The editors from the small number of publications running these images are also to blame if they use them in a newsworthy context. Adobe Stock has a filter to show only “editorial” images, which are specifically for news and media and, as far as I can tell, there are no actual generative images if you filter to this context. The only results in Adobe’s entire stock library marked as both “generative A.I.” and “editorial” appear to me to be real photographs about generative imagery. Adobe could help prevent the use of offensive generated images in news contexts by allowing users to set default search filters — something users have been begging them to do.

A quick review of the articles shown in the screenshot posted by Wilson, however, seems to show most of them used this example to show that it was a generated image, and that readers should be cautious of what they believe. I did see a couple of instances where it appeared to be used without acknowledging that it was computer generated, and this is just one example. Still, it would be misleading to believe all uses of this image treated it as a real photo.