Adobe Issues AI Training Promise After User Outrage

Software giant responds to backlash, telling users that their content will “never be used to train any generative AI tool."

Adobe has reacted to concerns that its users’ work will be utilized to train generative AI tools by confirming a further roll-out of changes to its Terms of Use.

The software company responsible for popular programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Reader, came under fire earlier in the month when a mandatory terms of service update suggested that Adobe would be able to automatically access user content.

But a new blog post says that the company has reflected on the language it used in the update and confirms that user-generated content will never be harnessed to train generative AI tools.

Adobe’s Terms of Non-Endearment

The fury of Adobe users began to surface last week when they started receiving notifications to inform them of updated terms of use.

The summary of changes – which required acceptance in order to continue using the software – included clarification that Adobe could “access your content through both automated and manual methods, such as for content review”.

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This was interpreted by some critics as tacit permission for Adobe to use content to train AI models. While others voiced concern that sensitive content created under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) would be exposed.

Adobe: “You own your content”

After hastily posting a blog to clarify the update last Thursday, Adobe has now said that it will roll out a revised set of Terms of Use changes by June 18th.

Stopping short of a mea culpa, the company says that “evolving” its Terms of Use is the right thing to do but admits its messaging could have been clearer.

“We’ve never trained generative AI on customer content, taken ownership of a customer’s work, or allowed access to customer content beyond legal requirements. Nor were we considering any of those practices as part of the recent Terms of Use update.” – Adobe

The post sets out five points of clarification, starting with a pledge that: “Your content is yours and will never be used to train any generative AI tool”.

Others include users having the choice not to participate in Adobe’s product improvement program and a commitment not to scan content stored locally on computers.

“Our updated Terms of Use, which we will be releasing next week, will be more precise, will be limited to only the activities we know we need to do now and in the immediate future, and uses more plain language and examples to help customers understand what they mean and why we have them,” the post reads.

However, there is an absence in the blog of any reassurances in relation to the concerns raised about the privacy of work created under NDAs.

The Creep Of AI Model Training

Adobe has previously been very open as to how it plans to exploit AI to enhance its own tools. It recently confirmed that its Premiere Pro program will add generative AI video functionality, for example.

But the backlash to Adobe’s updated Terms of Use comes amid continued anxiety from the creative industries that original work will be used without permission to train such AI software – the ultimate fear being that many writers, artists, actors and many more will be rendered unnecessary.

And earlier in the year, Reddit revealed that it had agreed to internet giant Google using its data to train the AI models Google hopes will compete with the likes of ChatGPT. It’s a point of tension that is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, with Apple’s newly announced integration of ChatGPT only accelerating the ubiquity of AI tools to consumer devices.

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Written by:
Now a freelance writer, Adam is a journalist with over 10 years experience – getting his start at UK consumer publication Which?, before working across titles such as TechRadar, Tom's Guide and What Hi-Fi with Future Plc. From VPNs and antivirus software to cricket and film, investigations and research to reviews and how-to guides; Adam brings a vast array of experience and interests to his writing.
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