Tor uses AI to generate Christopher Paolini book cover

Occurred: May 2023

The cover of Christopher Paolini’s latest Fractalverse novel, Fractal Noise, was discovered to have been generated by AI, resulting in widespread criticism of Paolini's publisher Tor Books amongst readers, artists, and its authors. 

It transpired the cover image had originally been posted to a stock art site by a user named 'Ufuk Kaya', and that Tor had in this instance not credited its in-house designer. 

Tor responded to the backlash by saying it had licensed the relevant image from a 'reputable stock house' and was 'not aware that the image may have been created by AI.' It went on to say that it was going ahead anyway 'due to production constraints', triggering another backlash.

Paolini defended Tor’s decision not to stick with move the existing publication date, writing, 'Shifting the release date for Fractal Noise at this point would mean it probably wouldn’t even be published next year.'

Operator: Tor Books

Country: UK

Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts

Purpose: Generate image

Technology: Text-to-image; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Employment

Transparency: Governance; Marketing