A promotional poster for season two of Loki on Disney+ has come under scrutiny by professional designers for allegedly using a Shutterstock image generated by artificial intelligence, according to The Verge. Disney has denied the allegations.
“[T]here is no truth to The Verge’s story about Loki using AI to create the poster. The rumor started from one person on Twitter with zero facts or evidence to back up their claim,” a Disney spokesperson told Cord Cutters News via email.
Illustrator Katria Raden pointed out the imagery in a thread on X, formerly Twitter.
AI has become a hot topic over the last year after ChatGPT’s meteoric rise in popularity. Companies have been scrambling to find ways to incorporate the technology. In the race to gain a competitive edge, warnings from experts have gone largely unheeded. As a result, ramifications of AI usage is already being felt in the art and publishing industries.
“Licensing photos and illustrations on stock sites has been a way many hard-working artists have been earning a living,” Raden posted in the thread.
The use of AI was also a lynchpin issue in the Hollywood writers strike – and still is for SAG-AFTRA, who has yet to find common ground with big media companies. Protections against the use of AI were included in both unions’ respective list of demands.
It’s the second time Disney has come under fire for the use of AI in the last few months. Marvel’s Secret Invasion employed AI to generate the surreal opening credits of the show, which elicited early backlash and a debate over the use of the technology in entertainment.
The Loki poster features the head of the god of mischief, portrayed by Tom Hiddleston, set against a spiraling clock background. Raden said the “meaningless squiggles” in the image were indicative of it being AI-generated. X user @thepokeflutist said they purchased the image, titled “Surreal Infinity Time Spiral Space Antique,” and ran it through four AI image detection websites and three websites flagged the image as AI-generated.
In addition, @thepokeflutist said the image was created this year – meaning it’s not too old to be AI-generated – and lacks embedded metadata to describe how it was made.
According to Shutterstock’s contributor guidelines, the site “will not allow AI-generated content to be submitted by contributors for licensing” on its platform. However, customers can use Shutterstock’s own AI Image Generator to create content. According to The Verge, the spiraling clock image isn’t labeled as AI-generated.
“[A]fter expedient and thorough investigation, we have confirmed that the image in question was not created by AI,” a Shutterstock spokesperson told Cord Cutters News via email. “The artist used a software tool to create the Droste Effect responsible for the subtle creative imperfections most often associated with AI generated art.”
This article has been updated to reflect Disney and Shutterstock comments.
Image credit: Disney