Nikon takes aim at AI images with Natural Intelligence campaign

Nikon takes aim at AI images with Natural Intelligence campaign

Nikon's latest Peruvian ad campaign takes the fight to AI image generators. (Image source: Charlie Tolmos on YouTube)
Nikon’s latest Peruvian ad campaign takes the fight to AI image generators. (Image source: Charlie Tolmos on YouTube)

Camera maker Nikon has thrown its weight into the fight against controversial AI image generation tools, like Midjourney, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion, in an ad campaign centric around the beauty of the natural world and the creativity of photographers. The advertising campaign features stunning imagery taken by Nikon users, with AI image generation prompts superimposed over the images to drive the point home.

Some creative companies, like Adobe, have leaned into artificial intelligence, integrating AI into their photography and design software. Nikon‘s recent Natural Intelligence ad campaign, which originally ran in Peru, espouses the natural beauty of the world and encourages photographers to see the world through a creative lens rather than turn to AI (via Little Black Book).

The ad campaign features impressive images of other-worldly cliffs in Iceland, strange botany in Yemen, outlandish rock formations in the USA, and radiant mountain ranges in Argentina, among others. Over each image is text that resembles what you might enter into an AI image generator to get the resulting image, with some highlights being “a realistic Minecraft cliff at the seashore in winter season,” and” a latte skatepark in the middle of the desert on Mars.”

All of the images in the ad campaign were shot by Nikon users, and the goal of the ad campaign is to bring attention to the artistic and creative talent of photographers.

‘Natural Intelligence’ is a print and outdoor campaign that goes against AI, presenting photos of natural places in our world that are stranger than fiction, shot by photographers using Nikon cameras. Photographers used keyword prompts from artificial intelligence websites, demonstrating that photography and nature are truly capable of surprising us, beyond our imagination. —Charlie Tolmos, chief creative officer of Grey Circus Peru (via Little Black Book).

It’s yet unclear how things will progress as AI image generators become more democratised, but there’s been a lot of push-back from artists over issues related to copyright violations relating to images used to train the AI systems. It makes sense for camera companies to push back against these systems if they hope to sell any hardware, unless they plan on doing something similar to the peculiar Paragraphica AI-powered pseudo-camera.

Aside from copyright issues, there’s an argument to be made about originality and creativity — in summary, without original content, the AI would have no data to learn from and generate images — and the threat these AI image generators pose to the existence of photographers and other creative professionals.

Buy the Nikon Z5 mirrorless camera body on Amazon.

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