Mar 15, 2024 - Technology

Lego says its use of AI-generated images was a mistake

Lego office

Shoppers queue for the Lego A/S store in Leicester Square in London, UK, on Aug. 4, 2023. Photo: Chris J. Ratcliffe/ Bloomberg via Getty Images

Following an outcry from fans and creators, Lego said Friday that its use of generative AI for a series of images on its website was a test that went against its policies.

Why it matters: The move comes amid a broader debate within creative communities over whether and how the use of generative AI is acceptable.

Zoom in: Lego posted a series of clearly AI-generated images to the Ninjago section of its website, drawing criticism from fans and one of the Lego sub-brand's creators.

  • "I will definitely report this internally and I hope it will be scrubbed fast," Tommy Andreasen, one of the Ninjago's co-creators, wrote on X. "This is just lousy in all aspects. There are actual guidelines against the use of AI like this at LEGO so this is completely unacceptable. Art should be made by artists."
  • The images have since been taken down, according to Jay's Brick Blog, an enthusiast site that earlier reported on the images.

What they're saying: Lego, for its part, characterized the use as "a test which happened outside of our usual approval processes."

  • "We have a clear policy not to use generative AI to create LEGO content," the company said in a statement to Axios, adding that it "will take all necessary steps to ensure that it won't happen again."

Between the lines: Reflecting the complexity of the issue, Lego's statement contained both praise for human artists and the company's interest in further exploring AI.

  • "We fundamentally believe in the wonder and power of human creativity and will continue to encourage and celebrate the talented artists who help bring our brand and characters to life," Lego said.
  • The company added: "We believe generative AI offers interesting opportunities and we will continue to explore how we can use it to improve the experiences we offer and our ways of working."

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