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  • Kyle Chua

Midjourney Halts Free Trials of AI Image Generator After “Extraordinary Demand and Trial Abuse”

Thinking of using Midjourney to create an image in your head? Well, forget it, unless you're willing to pay to use the service.

Credit: Midjourney

The artificial intelligence (AI) image generator is halting free trials of its service due to “extraordinary demand and trial abuse”. CEO David Holz took to Discord to make the announcement, clarifying that the move was in response to the large number of users signing up for the service, and not because of its supposed "abuse", as The Washington Post first reported.


"We stopped trials because of massive amounts of people making throwaway accounts to get free images," said Holz in an email to Gizmodo.


The "abuse" that The Washington Post initially insinuated is in relation to a number of convincing deep fakes that have recently gone viral and caused misinformation online. One of which involves Pope Francis wearing a stylish Balenciaga puffer jacket. Deep fakes, for those unfamiliar, are AI-generated images or videos that depict real people doing or saying things they never did.

Credit: Midjourney

Holz said the report was a "misunderstanding", adding that the "abuse" he's referencing is in relation to limiting new users and what they could do with their free accounts. "We’re still trying to figure out how to bring free trials back, we tried to require an active email but that wasn’t enough so we’re back to the drawing board,” he said. He did, however, note that the free trial of Midjourney doesn't include access to version 5, the latest version of the tool that's capable of creating the most realistic images. To access newer versions of the tool and more advanced features, users have to pay a monthly fee that starts at US$10.


The Midjourney chief also admitted that setting content policies to combat the misuse of the tool hasn't been easy as the AI tool becomes more and more capable of making realistic-looking images. But he also said his research lab is taking a lot of feedback on moderation from experts and the community.


One of Midjourney's most important rules is to not use the tool to create "drama". While more rules have since been added, many are still concerned that they're too loose to police potential misuse, such as the creation of deep fakes. Stable Diffusion, another AI image generator, for instance, doesn't allow users to copy artists' styles or generate pornographic or nude content, but these restrictions don't seem to be enough to stop users from creating content that can cause harm.

 
  • AI image generator Midjourney is halting free trials of its service due to “extraordinary demand and trial abuse”.

  • CEO David Holz clarified that the "abuse" he's referencing is in relation to limiting new users and what they could do with their free accounts, not how the tool is being misused to create viral images that cause misinformation.

  • He did, however, admit that setting content policies to combat that issue hasn't been easy as the AI tool becomes more and more capable of making realistic-looking images.

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