‘So Many Things Don’t Add Up’: Stability AI Founder Accused of Exaggerations

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Stability AI founder Emad Mostaque has been sensationally accused of exaggerating his education, the genesis of AI image generator Stable Diffusion, and links to prestige organizations such as the United Nations.

Forbes published an article yesterday which details various accusations against the artificial intelligence (AI) visionary while containing damning quotes from employees and others who have worked with Mostaque.

British-Bangladeshi Mostaque released a riposte to Forbes’s piece, where he counters what’s in the article and generally protests his innocence.


Mostaque says he received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Oxford in England. However, according to Forbes, Mostaque does not hold a master’s degree but is applying to receive an “Oxford MA” which the university grants to alumni without any additional graduate-level coursework.

Mostaque says: “I did not attend my graduation ceremony to pick up my degrees and so actually do not technically have a BA or an MA. I have paid the £60 to receive these by post and will do so next month. Hopefully, I can attend my graduation ceremony in person.”

Claiming Credit for Stable Diffusion

Stability AI is best known for its AI image generator Stable Diffusion which was originally a program written by a group of researchers from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and Heidelberg University.

Initially called Latent Diffusion, the researchers accepted Stability’s offer to provide a supercomputer to help them with their model.

In August 2022, it was launched as Stable Diffusion and Mostaque quickly went about positioning himself as the chief evangelist, putting out press releases that made no mention of how the program was originally created.

The original developers tell Forbes that Mostaque misled the public and they had wanted to publicize his lab’s work.

“Stability, as far as I know, did not even know about this thing when we created it,” Björn Ommer, the professor who led the research, tells Forbes. “They jumped on this wagon only later on.”

“One thing you learned from that is if you have a company with a huge press department, you can rebrand history in your interest,” he continues.

Mostaque says: “We have made repeated public statements that Stability AI was a collaborator in the development of the first release of Stable Diffusion, alongside the Computer and Vision learning group at LMU and Runway.”

Exaggerated Partnership With Amazon

Forbes alleges that to build a buzz around Stability, Mostaque embellished a transaction with Amazon stating he had an 80 percent discount from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

However, a Stability spokesperson says the company did not have a special deal with the Seattle-based company. Furthermore, Forbes says three former employees said that AWS was threatening to revoke Stability’s access to its GPUs over unpaid bills worth millions.

Mostaque says: “We have a strategic business alliance with Amazon & AWS. As part of this strategic business alliance, AWS built an incredibly rare dedicated compute cluster completed in August 2022 to the requirements of Stability.”

“As we scaled there were some payment timing issues (especially given credits etc), all of which were resolved by August,” he adds.

Made Up Links to Major Organizations

Forbes states that Mostaque listed UNESCO, OECD, WHO, and World Bank as partners while pitching to investors.

Three of those organization tells Forbes they have no record of a partnership with Stability and UNESCO says they have no association beyond a Covid-19 data initiative when the company first started and long before Stable Diffusion.

Mostaque says: Nothing of these allegations in his riposte.


Also in Mostaque’s pitch decks were claims that Stability is part of Midjourney’s “ecosystem,” according to Forbes.

There were apparently claims that Stability “co-created” Midjourney and “organized” its user community.

Midjourney founder David Holz tells Forbes Mostaque gave a “very small” financial donation but that is all.

Mostaque says: “Last summer we were in discussions to co-create this and other products as joint efforts. We then pivoted to creating our own and then focusing on the infrastructure stack.”

He also goes on to say that Stability has always listed Midjourney as an “independent organization” in pitch decks so as not to mislead people.

Forbes’s article can be read here, Mostaque’s response here.