OpenAI Will Close its First AI Image Generator DALL-E 2

AI images created by DALL-E 2
Some of the more bizarre creations made by DALL-E 2.

OpenAI has effectively killed off DALL-E 2 after the company announced it is no longer accepting new customers by turning off the ability to purchase generation credits.

DALL-E 2 was perhaps the very first AI image generator that people heard of when it was announced almost exactly two years ago. Things have changed rapidly since then, DALL-E 2 has been superseded by its far more advanced successor DALL-E 3.

DALL-E 2 now has something like a cult status, its creations were often imperfect and it spat out some hilariously terrible images such as a literal piece of salmon swimming upstream.

A literal piece of salmon swimming upstream

Recently, PetaPixel reported on a project that recreates memories using DALL-E 2 which the team chose precisely because it makes flawed, dreamy, and blurry images.

“I’m really scared that OpenAI will close DALL-E 2 and we will have to use DALL-E 3,” said Pau Garcia, who worked on the project.

That quote is barely a week old and it has already happened.

Copyright Questions

As it became apparent that OpenAI built DALL-E 2 by allegedly making a huge scrape of images available on the open web, ethical issues surrounding copyright and permissions began to crop up.

Although DALL-E made a conscious effort to block users from asking for a picture in the style of a specific photographer or artist, it was clear from other AI image generators (Midjourney and Stable Diffusion) that it was possible to make AI images in the style of somebody else.

The backlash began to grow as artists began realizing that their work had been trained. A group of artists sued Midjourney and Stable Diffusion but not DALL-E.

An artist called Lapine tells Ars Technica that although she was initially unconcerned about the ethics of AI models, that changed when she found her medical records in the LAION dataset which was used to train multiple AI image generators.

“I no longer feel comfortable interacting with these platforms,” she says. “There still isn’t enough transparency.”

DALL-E 2 is no longer accepting credit purchases but if you do have credits already bought then you can use them until May 1, 2025, or one year from purchase.

Image credits: DALL-E 2