Midjourney Has Got Even More Racist

I haven’t been on Midjourney in months now, through a mixture of ethical concerns and, to be honest, sheer boredom. After a while, that whole AI look for everything gets wearing. And you can spot it, a mile away. There’s just something… uncanny valley going on. Even without humans in the images.

I had a phase of trying to generate Indian Marvel heroes, sci-fi stars etcetera because they don’t exist in real life. I was trying to create the representation of ethnic groups that I would love to see in reality. One day… maybe.

I also created a vamp dream team:

Even back when I was last on, MJ was racist. The default ethnicity was white, unless you specified otherwise. White was the normal, the default, the not weird. In this, Midjourney was a perfect reflection of the racism of Western society.

I went back on tonight and tried to create a standard thing for me: an Indian woman in a spacesuit. But MJ wasn’t having it, not version 6. Here’s what it gave me:

I couldn’t try out version 3, the one I made the vamps with. The furthest back I could go was 5.1. That gave me this:

Again, a bit too much emphasis on beauty and youth but at least these women look South Asian. The ones that MJ generates now really don’t.

As a test, I changed the ethnicity but used exactly the same prompt:

Sooo… v.5.1, no problem! How about version 6 of Midjourney?

Oho! Okay, more youth and beauty bias but… at least they have dark skin!

What is going on, Midjourney? Why do you refuse to generate Indian women in spacesuits? Hold on, let me test something.

What the hell? You’re not even allowing us to be doctors? C’mon now! I mean, I guess the top right could be South Asian, at a push, but she looks more Middle Eastern to my eyes. The other three are definitely all called Becky.

Hmmm…

Something, somewhere has gone very wrong with Midjourney’s training of its AI. AIs were always going to be racist because their creators are. I had hoped that the best researchers would acknowledge their biases and adjust their training accordingly.

But Midjourney has got objectively worse in that it won’t generate a very simple prompt, it refuses to generate it and goes, ‘Here, you must mean white women in spacesuits as no Indian women are ever in spacesuits, what a ridiculous proposition!’

With the increasing force-feeding of AI into every aspect of our lives, this increasing bias, this increasing racism within one of the most popular AI generative apps is worrying.

What does it signify about the larger state of AIs in general and the people in charge of them?


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