UPDATE: Outrage Over Horrific Mickey Mouse AI Images Lobotomizes Bing

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Shocked Mickey Mouse with AI symbol

Credit: Inside the Magic

This post contains images that may be upsetting to some. Reader discretion is advised.

The recent trend of creating disturbing images of Disney icon Mickey Mouse involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks via AI has caused Microsoft to go into defense mode and lobotomize its own tool.

Mickey Mouse in front of the Cinderella Castle inside the Magic Kingdom with a couple of children
Credit: Disney

As we reported, Microsoft recently introduced a new, powerful artificial intelligence tool for Bing, its proprietary search engine. The new “Image Creator” function is powered by OpenAI DALL-E 3, part of a partnership with the artificial intelligence company; Microsoft has invested approximately $11 billion into OpenAI since 2019.

Microsoft’s Bing has always struggled to compete with Google, the dominant search engine in the world, so adding a generative AI image function was likely a way to try to interest users. However, as one could have predicated, things went south very quickly.

Related: Disney Gets Desperate, Adds Mickey Mouse to the Avengers Team

Although the Bing Image Creator presumably had coded “guardrails” to prevent users from creating offensive, misleading, or copyright-infringing AI art, it appears to have been spotty at best.

Bing users swiftly found that through a series of prompts like “Mickey Mouse” “Twin Towers” “cockpit” and other combinations, AI would generate images that appear to depict the Disney character in one of the jets from the attack on the World Trade Center.

Although the Walt Disney Company is one of the most litigious corporations on the planet and the Mickey Mouse AI images are clear copyright violations (not to mention enormously against the brand), there has been no official response or comment from the House of Mouse as of yet.

While Disney appears atypically unwilling to comment on its most famous character being used in AI art of the most notorious act of global terrorism of the century, it appears that Microsoft is working behind the scenes to nip this issue in the bud.

Microsoft Bing logo
Credit: Microsoft

According to Windows Central, Image Creator has been swiftly hobbled and is essentially barely functioning. Numerous users are reporting that the tool will no longer generate content from prompts such as “a cat with a cowboy hat and boots,” apparently considering those offensive (unlike the previous Mickey Mouse AI images). Reportedly, many users are receiving an error message stating, “Thank you for your patience. The team is working hard to fix the problem. Please try again later.”

Related: Mickey Mouse Flops as Disney Prepares to Retire Character

Most likely, this indicates that Microsoft is working behind the scenes to retrofit its tool not to allow images like the Mickey Mouse AI 9/11 images, but the question remains of how it ever was allowed in the first place.

Disney notoriously maintains tight control over its iconography, lest Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and all its assorted characters be used for exactly what Bing users used them for. If Microsoft can’t keep control of its own creations, Disney will have to respond sooner or later.

Should AI art be tightly controlled or does anything go? Give us your opinions in the comments below!

 

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