Ron Watkins proudly announced this week the release of an artificial intelligence (AI) tool designed to generate images from text prompts. Yet the project has already received numerous complaints given that no one can seem to get it to actually work.
In a tweet on Monday, Watkins, the former 8kun administrator turned failed congressional candidate, who is also often accused of being the persona behind QAnon, revealed to his more than 400,000 followers “AIProto.”
“AIProto is now available for public use,” he tweeted. “Unlike most other public AI services, AIProto does not enforce any woke leftist policies.”
In response to the Daily Dot’s article, Ron denied on Twitter having any involvement with the “development” of AIProto and instead claimed that he was merely “excited about the project.”
However, his father, Jim Watkins, is troubleshooting bugs on the site. The duo previously worked closely on the far-right website 8kun. Ron Watkins did not mention his father’s involvement in denying he was tied to the project.
A website for the tool provides almost no information. Users are simply met by text boxes that make it appear as if anyone can use the service. But when a user tries to generate an image, an error message informs them that they must log in to a Proto account.
After pressing the login button, users are presented with the option of creating an account. After selecting to do so, users are then forwarded to a separate website that informs them that they must pay $5 per month in order to use the service.
The Daily Dot made numerous attempts to sign up for AIProto but were unsuccessful. The service not only repeatedly failed to charge the credit card provided but failed to actually log in to the account despite messages indicating that such efforts were successful.
It turns out, however, that these issues are not a fluke. Countless similar complaints were scattered all across social media from users who had also attempted to access the service.
The popular independent researcher known on Twitter as Karma, who has long documented both Ron and Jim Watkins’ activities, told the Daily Dot that they too were unable to get the image generator working.
Over on Telegram, users also complained in a channel run by Jim, who appears to be involved in the project with his son, that they had been unable to access AIProto.
After providing thorough instructions to no avail, an administrator on the channel suggested that the issue was merely caused by web browsers. The administrator then urged users to attempt to sign in over Wi-Fi as opposed to their mobile networks.
As more users began to complain, the administrator then claimed without evidence that the service could be under a DDoS attack.
“I was trying 5 times to sign up no success…” another user wrote. “Once it said I succeeded but it didn’t work.”
Users on Truth Social, the fledgling social media platform launched by former President Donald Trump, even complained directly to Jim.
“Somethings not working or I’m not techie enough to figure it out…” one user said.
In response, Jim suggested that the user’s order merely didn’t go through.
“I don’t think the order went through. Did you get a order confirmation?” Jim asked. “I really want to help, if the system is borked, I won’t know if someone doesn’t let me know.”
Despite the complaints since its launch, AIProto doesn’t appear to be any closer to actually working.
The attempts by the Watkins duo to produce a so-called anti-woke AI are not the first among right-wing figures.
Just last month, the far-right social media platform Gab launched an AI image-generating tool that it said was not restrained by “Satanic” Silicon Valley filters and guardrails.
This post has been updated with comment by Ron Watkins.