Where does DALL-E go from here?
Images generated by Midjourney; Protocol

Where does DALL-E go from here?

Source Code

Good morning! DALL-E and other AI-generated imagery tools have found their place right now with people who need to make simple, cool art. But the technology isn't quite ready for prime time.

The future of AI art

In the short term, AI-generated imagery can help marketers, designers, and other creatives do their jobs more efficiently. In the long term, the sky's the limit — but a few questions need to be answered first.

Everybody’s hyped up on DALL-E and other generative AI image tools, my colleague Biz Carson reports. Investors have been telling Biz that the tech is reminiscent of the excitement they felt the first time they used Uber.

  • “The technology is really cool,” Biz told me. “It feels magical and groundbreaking.”
  • And so far, some designers and marketers have taken advantage of it. One company is creating stock images using AI. Another is building AI models for fashion brands.

But there are some hurdles that stand in the way of AI-generated imagery going mainstream, like the question of ethics and what is a business use case for this type of imagery anyway?

  • Many AI imagery models have been trained on biased data sets; for example, Biz writes, when they're given a prompt such as “startup founder,” they almost always serve up a picture of a white male.
  • The other issue involves copyright. “The models were trained on a bunch of artists’ work,” Biz said. “Are you infringing on those artists’ copyright for those images created?”
  • People could use the technology nefariously as well, making deepfakes or violent imagery; AI porn sites have already cropped up.

As this type of art gets more popular and more people discover these AI tools, investors and founders will need to take responsibility for the tools and put some thought into how they’re built and what they’re used for.

— Sarah Roach

SFPD’s privacy controversy

Ripple chairman and co-founder Chris Larsen funded more than 1,000 of San Francisco’s security cameras for a decade. Last week, the city gave SFPD the ability to monitor the feeds in real time.

SFPD can now access private surveillance networks during life-threatening emergencies, large events, and criminal investigations (including misdemeanors).

  • The decision came with heavy opposition from privacy and civil rights groups, Protocol’s Issie Lapowsky reports. “The fact that there is a very vast private camera surveillance network infrastructure already in place does make the passage of this policy very concerning,” said Jennifer Jones, staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California.
  • Larsen, who isn’t monitoring the cameras, has reportedly spent around $4 million since 2012. Neighborhood coalitions known as community benefit districts, which give SFPD the greenlight for access, are the ones monitoring.

But opponents are worried aboutaround-the-clock monitoring and fear it would be harmful to marginalized groups.

  • New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week that the city plans to install cameras in all subway cars in a bid to stop crime, a proposal that stoked anger from privacy groups.

And other cities could start this type of surveillance, too. Cities only briefly attempted to curb police power in 2020 when racial justice protests were happening across the country, but since then, police use of surveillance technology has only increased. “As cities deal with this rise in crime they're going through, they're all going to be looking to each other to see what's working — or at least what's new,” Issie told me. “Even if there's no evidence it's working.”

—Nat Rubio-Licht


Alibaba — a leading global ecommerce company — is a particularly powerful engine in helping American businesses of every size sell goods to more than 1 billion consumers on its digital marketplaces in China. In 2020, U.S. companies completed more than $54 billion of sales to consumers in China through Alibaba’s online platforms.

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The state of innovation

Join Protocol Policy at 10 a.m. PT tomorrow as we dive into the U.S.’s national strategy on innovation, what’s working, what isn’t, and what policy changes we can expect from the year ahead. RSVP here.

People are talking

Sundar Pichai told Google employees that fun “shouldn’t always equate” with money:

  • “I think you can walk into a hard-working startup and people may be having fun and it shouldn’t always equate to money.”

Microsoft’s Charlie Bell thinks there’s huge opportunity for AI in cybersecurity:

  • “You’ve got to build the innovation environment, so that it’s not just some great stuff that you can put out there … it’s going to have to be machinery that can keep going.”

Coming this week

Elon Musk will be questioned today and tomorrow as part of his legal battle against Twitter.

“Ring Nation” launches today. It’s an MGM Television show about Amazon’s Ring doorbells, which some lawmakers aren’t happy with.

The European Cloud Summit starts todayin Mainz, Germany, and runs through Wednesday.

Converge22 begins tomorrowin San Francisco. Solana Labs and Haun Ventures leaders are expected to speak.

Tesla AI Day is on Friday. Expect to hear more about the company’s humanoid robot.

In other news

The Biden administration and TikTok created a preliminary agreementfor the app to address national security concerns, sources told The New York Times. The deal involves TikTok making changes to data security and governance.

Amazon's holding a Prime-exclusive saleOct. 11 through Oct. 12. It's called Prime Early Access Sale rather than Prime Day.

Apple started manufacturing the new iPhone in India at a facility near Chennai. The iPhone 14 will go on sale in the country later this year.

Apple Music will sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show. It replaces Pepsi, which has sponsored the show for 10 years.

Kraken has no plans to delist tokensthe SEC listed as securities or to register with the agency as a market intermediary.

Ian Knox is the new chief product officer of SimplePractice. Knox joins the company from real estate company Compass, where he was head of mobile practice.

Lance Lanciault is Snap’s new chief compliance officer. Lanciault comes from Peloton, where he was head of compliance and risk.

Voyager CFO Ashwin Prithipaul left after five months. CEO Stephen Ehrlich will take over those responsibilities in the meantime.

Investigating your future employer

Background checking your potential employer is easier than you think. Of course you can troll Blind or Glassdoor for reviews, but if you want to get up close and personal, try talking with a current employee. Company-sponsored chats are nice, but are usually with people who are super gung-ho about their workplace. Current employees that you find on LinkedIn, though, might just give you more genuine answers.


Using economic multipliers published by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, NDP estimates that the ripple effect of this Alibaba-fueled consumption in 2020 supported more than 256,000 U.S. jobs and $21 billion in wages. These American sales to Chinese consumers also added $39 billion to U.S. GDP.

Learn more

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

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