Midjourney will no longer let you generate images of Xi Jinping

Midjourney officially prevents depictions of Xi Xingping on its art generator. To anyone familiar with the CCP, this news will not come as a surprise.
Christopher McFadden
Midjjourney bans images of Xi Xingping.
Midjjourney bans images of Xi Xingping.

VOA News/Wikimedia Commons 

Midjourney, an AI image generator that creates realistic deep fakes, has recently faced scrutiny for its policy showing deference to China's communist government. The company permits users to generate fake images of world leaders such as President Biden and Vladimir Putin but not of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Midjourney CEO David Holz addressed the issue in a year-old message on Discord, explaining that the company wants to "minimize drama" and that political satire in China is "pretty not-okay."

Holz said that letting people in China use the technology would have a more significant positive effect on the world than allowing people to make Chinese political satire. The rule against creating deep fakes of Xi Jinping applies to all users worldwide, not just those in China.

Holz emphasized that the company is trying to be sensitive to different societies and cultures. He said, "Political satire is pretty taboo in China, and having a ton of people troll China with our system doesn't help anyone." Some users have been upset that they can't make images about Xi and have said that Midjourney is giving in to Xi Jinping's wishes.

Even though Midjourney's policies have caused much controversy, AI tools like Midjourney have become very popular worldwide. Many people believe that they will make jobs easier and streamline various processes. However, others argue that such devices can spread misinformation and create confusion. This worry was brought to light when fake images made by Midjourney of Pope Francis wearing a white puffer jacket and Donald Trump being arrested went viral.

This recent statement from Midjourney's CEO has not stopped people from generating images of the Chinese premier.

In his statement, Midjourney CEO David Holz clarified that the company puts accessibility in China ahead of users' ability to make political satire. As a result, the San Francisco-based company has the power to decide which leader or personality will be exempt from being turned into a fake AI image.

In response to the fake viral images and the controversy that followed, Midjourney stopped giving away free trials of its image-making tool for a while because of "extraordinary demand and trial abuse." David Holz announced the news on Discord, attributing the pause in the trial's availability to people making disposable accounts to get free images. Holz said, "We think it was probably a popular how-to video in China." At the same time, there was a temporary shortage of GPUs, which caused problems for paid users.

As AI tools like Midjourney become increasingly popular and widely used, there are still concerns about the possible downsides, such as false information and political biases. Midjourney's stance on political satire and the portrayal of confident political leaders exemplify the complexities that arise with the increasing reliance on artificial intelligence.

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