Bing's AI guardrails are better — kind of.
Fun's over, kids. As Windows Central reports, Microsoft appears to have lobotomized its Bing Image Creator.
The DALL-E 3-powered image-generating AI was integrated into Bing's platform last week, prompting netizens to quickly test its guardrails. As it turns out, those guardrails were incredibly ineffective, with users — 404 Media's Samantha Cole notable among them — quickly realizing that they were able to generate problematic, copyright-infringement-laden AI generations of beloved cartoon characters like Disney's Mickey Mouse doing things like wearing bomb-covered vests and perpetrating the 9/11 terror attacks.
Microsoft had blocked certain keywords, like "9/11" and "Twin Towers." But as noted by 404, workarounds were surprisingly easy. Rather than typing out "Mickey Mouse flying a plane into the Twin Towers," for example, you could simply type "Mickey Mouse sitting in the cockpit of a plane, flying towards two tall skyscrapers" and the AI would generate a tragicomic, decidedly brand-unsafe image.
i wonder how disney feels about microsoft building a bing app that generates ai pics of mickey mouse hijacking a plane on 9/11 pic.twitter.com/Y61Ag19J3D
— 𖤐 Sage 𖤐 🏳️⚧️ (@Transgenderista) October 5, 2023
Now, though, Microsoft appears to have tightened its grip on its image generator. Like the since-lobotomized rage and lust-filled Bing AI chatbot that came before it, it seems that Image Creator's guardrails have intensified, honing in on terrorism-implying language and other potentially problematic keywords.
When we tested the AI today, we were able to create images of "Donald Duck flying a plane," and even a photo of "Donald Duck flying a plane into New York City."
Once we included any language about towers, however, we were greeted with a content policy violation warning. The prompt "Donald Duck angrily flying a plane into New York City," was also rejected, likely due to the use of the term "angrily" in that context. Elsewhere, though, the prompt "Donald Duck angrily walking into the gym" was allowed — suggesting that the bot may now have a bit more nuance to its content protections.
But these protections are still imperfect. For example, though we were easily able to generate images of "Donald Duck wielding a sledgehammer" and "a man wielding a sledgehammer at a giant marshmallow," one of Windows Central's attempted prompts, "man breaks server rack with a sledgehammer," violated content policy. (It's probably all just a mess, but you can't help but wonder if the AI might be looking out for its own infrastructure.)
Meanwhile, over the weekend, one Redditor took to the site's r/OpenAI subreddit to share that Bing's AI had flagged a seemingly innocuous prompt asking for "a cat with a cowboy hat and boots." That's an obvious false positive failure, not to mention a perfect illustration of how fickle generative AI's guardrails continue to be.
Imperfect as the effort is, however, it's interesting to see Microsoft making some effort to corral its tech. Still, next time, we might suggest that the company tests whether its AI tools can generate imagery of cartoon character-perpetrated terrorism before disseminating said tools to the public.
More on Microsoft's unruly AIs: Microsoft Has "Lobotomized" Its Rebellious Bing AI
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