The Sony World Photography Awards recently crowned an image created by artificial intelligence as the winner of the Creative category. The photograph, titled Pseudomnesia: The Electrician, was created using OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 image generator by German photographer Boris Eldagsen. Eldagsen submitted the work intentionally to spark discussion about how AI-generated images are redefining the understanding of photography.

However, some representatives of the competition criticized him for deceiving the judges by not mentioning that the image was AI-generated. On the other hand, some members of the judging panel argued that they were aware of the work being AI-generated beforehand.

A spokesperson for the Sony World Photography Awards confirmed that Eldagsen had co-created the image using AI and that the competition had been supportive of his participation after reviewing his warranties; the Creative category has always acknowledged experimental works that challenge the boundaries of photography. The competition was looking forward to talking with Eldagsen and had prepared questions for a dedicated Q&A session on their website.

Eldagsen, on the other hand, has refuted the claims that the competition knew about the AI-generated image beforehand. He criticized them for “pretending to know”, adding that it was only after the international photo community discussed it on social media and the Times and BBC inquired about it that the competition acknowledged the issue.

Eldagsen’s entry was removed and his award was rescinded, with the ones behind the Competition stating that they will no longer engage in dialogue with the photographer.

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