Chinese AI for making pictures does not give results with politically sensitive input

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ERNIE-ViLG, a Chinese alternative to Dall-E, among others, to generate images based on input via text, does not yield any results with politically sensitive input. The software refuses to serve, among other things, when the names of politicians and words such as Tiananmen are used.

Certain words related to revolution and democracy also seem to yield no result, reports MIT Technology Review. The software is part of Wenxin, a project of the Chinese tech giant Baidu. A demo of the software appeared online at the end of August.

The use of filters is common in such systems. Dall-E also blocks, for example, input of sexual words, images of medical actions and faces of famous people. It is the first time that such a system has a filter that does not respond to input that is politically sensitive in a single country. It is common for Chinese software to block results that are politically sensitive in the country.

Until this week, the software returned an error message that ‘sensitive words were found’, but Baidu has now adjusted that to ‘the content that has been entered does not comply with the relevant rules’. It is unknown exactly which terms the software filters; a list of these is not available.

ERNIE-ViLG, Chinese AI image maker from Baidu

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