IBM has caused something of a stir after releasing thousands of photos it obtained from Flickr to train its AI.
The computing giant was technically within its rights to obtain and use the photos as they were posted by users under a Creative Commons license allowing free use.
Flickr CEO Don MacAskill sent a couple of tweets on Tuesday about IBM’s use of the photos:
“We love & support photographers and their right to choose their own licenses for their work. By default, they reserve all of their rights, and have the option to loosen them if they’d like.”
“People didn’t have to opt-in to the dataset because they had already opted into the Creative Commons license. They took action. This is the way licensing works. It’s also the magic that enables artists & scientists all over the world to create & invent using CC-licensed work.”
Of course, those posting the photos – which may contain family and friends – likely never thought they’d be used for training AI.
“None of the people I photographed had any idea their images were being used in this way…It seems a little sketchy that IBM can use these pictures without saying anything to anybody,” Greg Peverill-Conti, an exec at PR firm SharpOrange, told NBC News.
IBM’s legal team authorised the use of the photos, according to a company representative.
The collection has over a million photos; including 700 from Peverill-Conti. Some of the photographers claim to have faced difficulties getting IBM to remove their photos.
Each of the photos in the ‘Diversity in Faces’ dataset is annotated with things such as the person’s gender, age, and geometric measurements. The dataset is offered only to academic researchers.
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