Blurred lines: "Photoshopped" is about to get a whole new meaning

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Wings and lassos

Adobe is the latest company to jump on the AI bandwagon, announcing last week that it's integrating the technology into its editing software Photoshop. The new tool will work similarly to other generative AI technologies, such as Midjourney and DALL-E, allowing users to quickly create, extend or edit images with simple prompts. Examples demonstrated included replacing a cowboy's lasso with strands of spaghetti, adding wings to a jumping dog, and more mundane edits like extending images or replacing backgrounds.

Integrating AI into its products makes a lot of sense for Adobe — the company’s share price is up 14% since the news — turning what could have been an existential threat into another feature of its flagship design software. Those tools will also have to stay fresh. Adobe’s business is now overwhelmingly subscriptions, rather than one-off sales, a shift that means more predictable revenue for Adobe, but also pressure to keep delivering product updates in a fast-moving industry. Last year the company splurged $20bn buying startup Figma (a deal that’s still being held up by UK regulators), this time the company seems more comfortable building its latest features in house.

Can’t trust your eyes

With Photoshop embracing AI, discussions will intensify about the risks posed by AI-generated fake images, like one of the Pentagon from last week. Interestingly, Adobe is including a free tool that will encode AI generated images with invisible digital signatures to separate the organic from the algorithmic. The company hasn't addressed concerns around job losses quite so convincingly, however — merely describing the tool as a “co-pilot” rather than a replacement for human designers.

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