Lúí Smyth (Director of Product, Generative & AI Tooling, Shutterstock) gave this presentation at the Computer Vision Festival in August 2023.

Hello, everybody. My name is Lúí, and I'm the Director of Product for Generative and AI at Shutterstock. I'm going to be talking about art in the age of AI, and by the end of this presentation, I hope to have given you a sense of the crazy world that generative AI unlocks and how you can go about navigating that world. 

Specifically, I'm going to run through:

  • How generative AI works at a high level
  • What it unlocks
  • Some of the challenges it poses for us 
  • And how we responded to those challenges at Shutterstock

How does Shutterstock leverage AI?

First, a few quick words on Shutterstock itself. We like to say that we’re one platform with 734 million ideas. That’s the number of images we have for sale right now. 

And that's just our image library. We also have music, video 3D, and various other content types. 

So you might ask, “Why is Shutterstock talking about AI?” And the answer is actually that we've been using AI for years in a ton of different ways. The most obvious is probably our reverse image search. It's one of the most used features on the site. If you have an image that's very close to the one you want, you can upload it onto the site and we’ll show you similar images that you can download and license. 

We also use AI to classify, score, and understand the images that contributors put up for sale on the site. This helps us surface them in search for the right customers that are looking for those pictures that’ll meet their needs. 

In recent years, we’ve become one of the biggest data brokers for computer vision companies looking for large datasets of well-tagged images that are available for licensing. 

And of course, we have our own AI image generator for anyone who wants to be able to very easily generate new images and license them with confidence, without having to train to become a prompt engineer.