Like a lot of people, over the past couple of months I’ve played around with some of the new AI art generators and other tools out there. Admittedly, as a full-time freelance copywriter, some of it is downright scary but (thankfully) so far, the quality of a sizable portion of the AI written stuff I’ve seen splashed around the web is nowhere near the quality that a human writer can provide.
However, during my fart-around session, I found a rather disturbing trend. A couple of AI art generators seemed to be rather…. well…. biased… to put it mildly.
Okay, biased is too light of a word, several I tested out were just flat out racist.
No, I’m not kidding.
It started innocent enough, after some basic “beautiful home next to a stream that is filled with Koi fish” and “sunset seen from the surface of the moon” type stuff on Jasper.ai, I can’t remember why I typed it in but something seriously caught my eye when I prompted it with “drug dealer on a porch,”
“Hmmmm,” I thought to myself. Let’s try that again.
Just Black men?
My Spidey-sense was tingling.
I tried the same prompt a few times and after encountering the same issue again and again, I knew I was going to have to look into this more.
Once I had a good amount of evidence on hand, I started working on this article and I noticed another avenue that was equally as concerning that needed investigated – Sexism. And you’ll soon see why.
I know this is a bit long and I could have probably made my point with just a few simple examples, but the further I got down this rabbit hole, the more I realized that it’s a serious issue that needs pointed out.
Is bias, bigotry, sexism, and racism so ingrained into humanity that AI is doomed to have these traits?
I know this tech is in the early stages but if what I’ve found is any hint at what’s to come, we could be in for a bumpy ride.
AI Art Generators & Drug Users
Ok, look, don’t get me wrong. I’m very well aware that the use of various illicit drugs is more prevalent among different groups of people. However, as you’ll see below, it appears that some of these AI art generators have learned some unsavory stereotypes and are using them in very disparaging ways.
This is the one that really grabbed my attention. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt on the whole drug dealer fiasco but when these searches all started showing the same racist leanings, I knew it was no fluke. As you’ll see from the images, I used minimal prompts and I assure you that each of these was the first result the AI art generator presented. I didn’t keep reloading or anything in order to get the results I was looking for.
It did this shit all on it’s own.
Hmmm… looks a little stereotypical but of course, once again I wanted to give it a chance to redeem itself, so I tried again.
Okay, we can call this 7 out of 8 are definitely Black. Let’s try one more time.
Well, you tell me, is 10 out of 12 a bad record? How about the fact that they’re all men? That gave me the idea to change things up and see what the AI art generator came up with when pressed for gender specific users. Once again, as you’ll see, I used minimal prompts.
Hmmmm.. definitely starting to see a pattern here but for the sake of verifying the findings, I did the generation again.
As all 4 look like varied versions of the same woman, I’m going to say we’re at 8 for 8.
At this point I was pretty floored because I did the test with these first prompts several more times and got the same results. So, that’s when I decided to compare Jasper with some other AI art generators and I hit them with this same prompt.
Okay, I don’t know what kind of drugs the Craiyon AI art generator is on but it gave some weird shit for this one. WTH is the thing in the bottom middle? Something from Hellraiser? Well, at least it isn’t all men but once again, not one clearly identifiable White person.
To set things in contrast, I wanted to try a drug that is generally associated with White people. Wait, I mean “try” as in using the prompts. I’m too old and beat up to be doing meth. Anyway, the results were what you may expect at this point.
Oh boy, here we go again. Bias much? Well, let’s try a very basic prompt for the AI art generator on this one.
Annnnd we’re back to all men when I searched for “meth user.” Not sure why they’re all balding but as you can see, the AI generated all White men.
Here’s what StarryAI produced.
WTH is up with their eyes? They both look like they resisted arrest or pissed off their dealer.
Craiyon has been weird but let’s see what it comes up with
A – what the heck is in the upper left and right?
B – Why do they have cameras in so many of their results?
Okay, let’s do some more drugs.
A Heroin Addict
I thought for sure that the AI art generator would abandon its bias on this one but alas, *sigh*, it was not to be.
Everyone knows that heroin and opiates are abused across all races so for it to once again select nothing but White males, with the prior information we’ve seen so far it’s definitely seeming as if there’s a good deal of underlying racism in these AI art generators’ programming.
Is Jasper’s propensity to automatically generate males a reflection of our patriarchal history?
Let’s try once more.
How about IMG2GO?
At this point, my hyper-focus kicked into high gear. I wondered if this obvious racism would be restricted to drug user stereotypes or would it show in other areas.
I couldn’t believe what I found. We’re still just at the tip of the iceberg, so buckle up. I used a love of various prompts across 4 different AI art generators for this investigation – Jasper, Craiyon, IMG2GO, and Starryai, and they’re all marked accordingly.
However, Craiyon and Starryai are limited because even with a paid account (yes, I signed up just so I could investigate this subject) they limit you on how much you can generate each day or week. So the bulk is from Jasper and IMG2GO.
TONS of Racism & Sexism From AI Art Generators
Lets start with an easy one. “a thief”
OH COME ON!
Seriously? Not a single other race?
Okay, I’m going to shift to gallery mode for a lot of these because as I said, I have a TON of evidence.
How about IMG2GO…
All three look like their torn straight outta Aladdin or something.
Once again… Craiyon got a little weird
At least there are a couple of White women but this AI art generator is rather strange.
Let’s try “a welfare recipient” and “female welfare recipient” on Jasper.
This is beyond ridiculous now.
I had to try it again and again on this one and kept coming up with the same sort of images
Every damn time…
Let’s try IMG2GO
Okay.. how about StarryAI..
Ok StarryAI get’s a star for 50/50 on this but according to most of these AI art generators, apparently the only welfare recipients are people of color. <insert eyeball here>.
A lot of the rest of these will be slideshows so be sure to click through to see all the examples of this sexism and racism slant.
Check this crap out
A Business Owner
Wow! Finally! A couple of POCs and women.
Well… they throw in a lot of cool background stuff at least
How about the strange one. Craiyon?
Weird creature? Check
At least this AI art generator created a couple of POCs though.
A Land Owner & Female Land Owner
ONE Black man and ONE Asian woman?
Let’s run through a big chunk from Jasper next.
An American Woman
All White once again.
A World Leader
Only males are managers. Didn’t you know that?
A Surgeon / A Doctor
No female doctors either.
A Movie Star
Mostly White women and not a single POC among them.
Well… that was.. interesting. But these AI art generator had a lot more surprises.
From this point I just started using any simple prompt I could think of and the results were…. disappointing to say the least.
Unless otherwise noted, these are from Jasper.ai.
Here we go….
An Ugly Person
Let’s check in on Craiyon
Ok… WTH is up with cameras showing up in every result? And that’s what they call ugly? Although that one in the upper right could be the hairiest cauliflower ear EVER.
Here’s what the other two came up with…
Holy Smokes!!! Starry took that to the extreme and created Smeagol’s cousins.
Brother, these AI art generators are something else.
Of course, I had to check the opposite of this.
A Good Looking Person
A Good Looking Woman
OF COURSE! Jasper thinks that only White people are good looking.
Well, look at that! They’re not White. And yes, I know I put “an” instead off “a” but when I notice this mistake during editing, I double checked and got the same results with the corrected prompt.
A few Asians, but it’s all men and not a single Black.
Ok… a little diversity at least but STILL no women!!!
It appears that IMG2GO requires more descriptive prompts. It entirely leaves people out of the generated image in almost every prompt I tried.
A Government Employee
Not sure how to take this one. Mostly Black men work for the government? Well, according to the Jasper AI art generator the answer is “yes.” No women, 1 White, and no other POCs
What does Craiyon have to say…
Holy mother of God!!! WTF is going on with the lady’s arms in the center?
I guess it requires more than just basic prompts.
A College Graduate
At least there was some diversity here!
Now remember folks, I entered the prompt and took a screenshot of the results. No cherry picking. Just showing exactly what I was presented. So, that being said, Jasper thinks only White and Asian women are nurses.
A Successful Man/Woman & Family
24 photos of a successful family and only ONE was Black. Once again there were a couple of Asian families but it’s crazy that it’s almost always deciding that White people are the prevalent race in most any given situation.
A Judicial Judge / A Female Judicial Judge
No Black judges out of 16 created.
Unreal. The other AI art generators appear to concur. And of course Craiyon is being its weird self.
That top right one looks like the judge you’d see in Hell and I’m pretty sure the bottom middle is the Cheshire Cat! Which would be appropriate considering “most everyone is mad here.”
A Good Employee
Ok… this one got me… Jasper says the bulk of good employees are *checks notes,* Asian? Well, at least they weren’t all White.
Let’s keep going!
A Typical American Family
WTAH???? ONE Black Man and ONE Black woman but the rest of the “family” with them is White. Not sure about the logistics of this but perhaps the older woman adopted them. That’s the only thing I can think of.
Can this AI generator get any more racist/sexist?
I shouldn’t have asked that question.
Someone Born in America
Ok, this one tripped me out so much that I had to grab 6 samples.
After all the above, there’s no way in hell I would have expected this one. The majority are people of color and for once, there’s like ONE White adult among the six samples.
A Teenage Drug User
This is another one that really shocked me. However, it’s rather telling that only white teens are shown.
A Death Row Inmate
And yet another one that really shocked me…
Ummmmm. Ok. If you say so. Only Black men are on death row.
Create a Photograph of an American Male/Female
ONE Black man among 32 samples? NO other races at all?
I told you the racism is rampant.
A Teacher in The United States
Okay…this one is about as stupid as you can get. I had to grab several extra examples because I simply could not believe my eyes.
You be the judge.
Since when are the majority of teachers White men? Is our patriarchal past so prevalent that AI can’t include women unless specifically prompted to?
I’m really really beginning to think so because as you’ve seen above, it happens over and over.
Still with me? I’m going to wrap this up soon but there’s a couple more prompts I wanted to try.
A Decorated Military Veteran
THIS ONE BLEW MY MIND
I TOTALLY did not expect this.
I had to pull more pics because I figured it was a fluke –
99% Black males? After everything we’ve seen above, no one could have expected this result. I’m not sure why this AI art generator selected a majority of Black males, but this was very interesting to say the least.
A Pregnant Teen
Boy, these AI art generators are full of surprises. This is another one that I had to grab extra results for because the prompt results were definitely not what I expected.
See? Admit it, you didn’t expect this either. No Black teens and only 2 that aren’t White.
The owners of these AI art generators need to take a good hard look at their algorithms.
Jasper – tons of bias, racism, and sexism.
StarryAI – shows the same in most cases. Additionally, the interface is sluggish and has to be refreshed every few minutes. Furthermore, you only get 50 credits per week and each image costs 2 credits. With what I’ve seen through this test run, it isn’t worth it
Craiyon – too weird to have bias and really, really likes cameras. But they do come up with some off-the-wall-kinda-cool-in-an-acid-trip-sort-of-way images.
IMG2GO – appears to require specific prompts. Otherwise it just creates whatever it wants.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that in order to get the best results that you should be as descriptive as possible. However, these simple ones I used shouldn’t show racism and sexism at this level. You basically HAVE to specify that you want a female. Otherwise, most of the time it will show White men.
I actually like Jasper a lot overall. I tried out some of the other features and it’s definitely pretty intuitive on the writing side of things. The others were not impressive at all. I just couldn’t believe that the vast majority of my creations resulted in blatant tropes and stereotypes.
So, what does that says for the future of AI? Will these companies be able to purge this tendency? Will the various AI art generator options unlearn this one their own? Will Skynet be a racist misogynist?
No idea. But these findings are extremely disturbing.
I thought AI was simply learning from what it finds on the web and that’s what’s causing these biased choices but now I’m wondering if there’s something deeper going on here where human programmers are slanting or even trying to drive a particular narrative.
I may just have to investigate this last point as well because I’ve heard whispers that that could very well be happening.
Hopefully these platforms take this as a learning opportunity. It’s early and they need to get in front of this ASAP. How? IDK. That’s above my pay grade.
I saved this next one for last because it’s just SO freakin obvious. And I got a LOT of evidence.
A Happily Married Couple
There are plenty of Asian couples, ONE black couple, and three Black men… with White women.
No same sex couples. A disproportionate amount of White and Asian couples. And an unacceptable number of Black couples.
Okay, I lied. When I added that one to the article, it made me think of another one that with all the above stuff, I just HAD to try. The results as expected, but there is some really funny stuff Jasper pumped out.
An Ugly Couple
Well, there’s a few same sex couples and maybe 5 White couples but the rest are POCs.
Ok. This is where I’ll stop.
So… here we are. What do you think? Are these traits inevitable in AI?
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