DALL-E image generator

Released: January 2021

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DALL-E is a software programme that automatically generates images from natural-language text descriptions (or 'prompts'). Trained on text-image pairs culled from the Internet, DALL-E claims to create 'realistic imagery and art' in multiple styles and compositions.

Developed by OpenAI and first revealed in January 2021, DALL-E uses a modified version of large language model GTP-3 to generate images. DALL-E2, which generates more diverse, higher resolution images faster, was released in May 2022. In September 2023, OpenAI released DALLE-3 with improved capabilities, added guardrails, and integration with ChatGPT.


DALL-E has been praised by researchers and commentators for the ease with which it makes it possible to create highly realistic, if surprising and weird, images and artwork at high speed. 

Others, however, have pointed out the software's technical limitations, and ethical and legal risks, including:

These limitations and risks broadly reflect those published by OpenAI upon DALL-E's launch and DALLE-2 upgrade.


OpenAI's refusal to let third parties assess its algorithm makes it difficult to understand how it works, and how its risks can be managed.

Operator: OpenAI; Microsoft
Developer: OpenAI
Country: USA
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Generate images
Technology: NLP/text analysis; Computer vision; Text-to-image; Neural network; Deep learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - race, ethnicity, gender; Copyright; Employment - jobs; Environment;  Mis/disinformation; Privacy; Safety
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Marketing; Privacy


Research, advocacy

News, commentary, analysis

Page info
Type: System
Published: November 2022