Journalist banned by AI art bot for viral images of Trump in prison

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Journalist banned by AI art bot for viral images of Trump in prison

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An artificial intelligence-powered art bot app banned a journalist after he created images of former President Donald Trump being placed under arrest that were widely distributed on social media.

The AI-generative bot Midjourney banned Eliot Higgins, the founder of the open-source journalist collective Bellingcat, on Wednesday, Higgins said. Higgins had produced 50 images of Trump being accosted by police and in prison in response to his expected indictment. The app responded within 24 hours by banning him.

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Higgins initially started by creating pictures of Trump being arrested by police in New York, as well as his family’s reaction and his life in prison. The pictures eventually turned into a Shawshank Redemption narrative, according to Higgins. And soon, they went viral.

“I put it out there. I didn’t intend to do any clever criticism or anything like that. But then it kind of took on a life of its own,” Higgins told Buzzfeed News.

Midjourney also banned the word “arrest” from being used in prompts.

Higgins isn’t angry with the app for banning him.

“I suspect it was pushing my luck when I did the thread, let alone when it went viral,” the reporter noted.

A Manhattan grand jury was scheduled to meet on Wednesday to vote on whether to indict Trump over allegations that he paid hush money to Stormy Daniels. However, that meeting was postponed.

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Bellingcat is an international open-source journalism group best known for its reporting on Russia and Ukraine.

Midjourney, which is an independent research lab for artificial intelligence, did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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