AI-Generated Model’s Photo Book Taken Down

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A building housing a Shueisha Inc. office in Tokyo

Shueisha Inc. announced on Wednesday that it would end sales of its digital photo book “Umaretate.” (Just out.), which was made using image-generating AI. The photo book was released exclusively as a digital title on May 29. “We did not sufficiently examine the various issues surrounding generative AI,” the company said.

According to the company and others, the model in this photo book, Satsuki Ai, does not exist as a real person. The editorial department of Weekly Playboy magazine created her using image-generating AI. The AI is said to have been prompted with text and images that were close to the images the magazine wanted to generate.

A feature article for the magazine’s issue No. 24, which was released on the same day as the photo book, includes several images of Satsuki Ai. Using a term for pages featuring glamour models, the article asks, “What possibilities does [generative AI technology] bring to gravure?”

After the release of the book and magazine, some people on social media pointed out that Satsuki Ai resembled a real individual and raised questions about the copyright for the images. The company said that it “should have thought more carefully [about commercializing AI-generated products], while keeping an eye on the evolving social debate.”