Walmart (l) AI art for sale at Walmart (r)

JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock evolvedspice/Reddit (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Rose

‘Live, laugh, lvoe’: Shopper catches Walmart selling ‘AI images’ for $22

'I wonder how many other AI pieces are in their collection?'


Jack Alban


Posted on Apr 24, 2024   Updated on Apr 23, 2024, 1:18 pm CDT

Walmart is getting called out online for its alleged use of Artificial Intelligence in its artwork sold in stores. Redditor @evolvedspice snapped a photo of the piece they say was generated via AI. It is currently being sold at a Walmart location for $22.15.

The illustration is mostly done up in dark undertones contrasted by bright floral patterns that decorate not only the perfume bottle that is the centerpiece of the now-controversial piece of art, but spill out onto the other areas of the canvas, surrounding the bottle.

Emblazoned on the fragrance is the word “CHANE”, which seems to be a misspelling on the designer brand “CHANEL.” To make matters even more bizarre, the “H” in the word appears to have been doubled up or flat-out misdrawn. Beneath this singularly misspelled word are other characters that look close enough to the English language but don’t appear to actually spell anything.

It’s these misspellings that are a dead giveaway to AI-generated art, a problem that other Redditors who’ve uploaded to the r/AiArt sub have openly discussed.

As one user noted, the problem appears to be endemic to text that is used in AI-generated images. If you’re using artificial intelligence like ChatGPT to help generate a piece of writing, then the software will almost always spell everything correctly. Sure, whatever it ends up putting down into a .txt file may sound like a robot devoid of any human context conjured it up, but at least it’ll be grammatically correct.

The issue comes when AI creates text within images.

“The problem is text in graphics,” the Redditor wrote. “It’s just fine when you want it to generate text, like a story or an article. But it’s hard for it to generate readable text as part of a graphic I don’t even know if the people who developed it know what the issue is so that they can fix it or at least address it.”

This same lack of contextual understanding appears to be the reason as to why AI-generated art often features bizarre or flat-out misspellings of words or even “remixed” versions of letters implemented in the English alphabet. One example is the double-H spotted in this Walmart shopper’s experience.

As one user on the application explained: “AI struggles with spelling due to language complexity and context, but it’s improving. With more data and fine-tuning, AI will likely get better at spelling. Grammar and spell-check tools also help. While perfection is challenging due to language nuances, progress is promising.”

Walmart selling AI images
byu/evolvedspice inChatGPT

Typedream touched upon this same issue as well with DALL-E, the AI art generator that automatically creates images based on text prompts. The outlet wrote: “Despite DALL-E’s prowess in image generation, its occasional misspelling in images has sparked curiosity,” while delving into the root of why DALL-E will often time hit snags in its artwork.

Fundamentally, text errors pop up mostly because DALL-E wasn’t programmed to be a grammar Nazi, just for bringing a user’s text-based inputs to life: “At its core, DALL-E is optimized for visual creativity, not textual accuracy. Generating text within images is a complex task for the model.”

The implementation of AI-generated art for commercial use has already sparked outrage in some high-profile instances. A24, which has produced acclaimed films such as Good Time, Uncut Gems, and It Comes at Night, was at the center of controversy after word broke out it used ad images created from AI programs to promote the new film Civil War. Users noted how many of the stills used in the advertisements for Civil War were never featured in the flick, and Hollywood Reporter discovered that the images, which were posted to Instagram, had something “off” about them.

The campaign featured several notable US landmarks that seemed to be ravaged by war but, as Collider reported, there were “glaring errors—the Marina Towers are on the wrong side of the river, a wrecked car in Miami has three doors, and a scene of armed soldiers aiming their guns at what should be a swan-shaped paddleboat features an enormous swan.”

The Verge also wrote how Wizards of the Coast, a brand that expressly stated it wouldn’t use AI in its business, was caught doing just that. Wacom, a company that produces drawing tablets for creatives, ironically, was also caught using AI-generated imagery in the items they sell to the public as well.

“Many artists have already rallied against companies using generative AI,” the story reads. “They fear it could impact job security across a wide range of creative professions like graphic design, illustration, animation, and voice acting. But there’s a particular sense of betrayal around brands like Wacom, whose main audience is artists.”

Redditors who responded to @evolvedspice’s post about the AI-generated piece of perfume bottle art had a variety of different responses to seeing the imagery.

For some, like this one user, they just wondered who would want to hang something like this up in their home in the first place: “What’s crazy is how much they want for this piece of sh*t. Who puts these things in their house?”

Someone else simply joked: “Live, laugh, lvoe.”

Another quipped that what made the artwork especially egregious was the fact that the person who printed it didn’t even bother to touch up the text in a Photoshop application before sending it to the presses.

One Redditor, @awesomedan24, said that they were able to nail down the company that’s actually generating and selling these art pieces. “Found their listing on Bed Bath, company is called ‘Design Art’. I wonder how many other AI pieces are in their collection?” they wrote.

They linked to the same $22.15 perfume print that was being sold at Walmart on Bed Bath & Beyond‘s site, as well as the Design Art’s website, which they said contain examples of other AI-generated art pieces. This “American Race Car Finishing Line” piece is a good example: look at the text on the cars’ sponsors, as well as the tires of the car closest to the back in the picture—it’s dripping in AI muddiness.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Design Art and Walmart via email and @evolvedspice via Reddit direct message for further information.

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*First Published: Apr 24, 2024, 6:00 am CDT