While Threads has quickly become a key development focus for the Instagram team, it’s also still working to integrate generative AI elements, as promised by Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg, who just last month noted that:
"In the last year, we've seen some really incredible breakthroughs on generative AI and that gives us the opportunity to now go take that technology, push it forward, and build it into every single one of our products."
We’ve already seen Meta’s first experiments on this front, with generative AI tools for ad creation. In addition, Instagram’s also developing some more other creative AI tools for regular users, which will soon be coming to IG feeds.
Those include (and thanks to Alessandro Paluzzi for sharing these tests):
Generative AI sticker creation
Spotted in testing back in May, Instagram’s working on a new generative AI sticker tool for your Instagram posts and Stories, which would enable you to create custom graphics based on text prompts.
That would enable visual AI creation in-stream, which you could then add to any of your IG posts.
Visual editing tools
Instagram’s also looking to implement generative AI tools that would enable you to remove or replace elements of your uploads within the creation process.
There are currently two elements to this. The first is ‘AI brush’, which would enable you to replace parts of your image, using generative AI to fill in the gaps. The other is ‘Restyle’, through which you’ll be able to re-create sections of an uploaded image by using text prompts.
So if you want a different background, you could add in a description of the setting you prefer, while you’d also be able to replace specific elements with AI-created alternatives.
You would also be able to summon this tool within your regular DM threads, by typing @ai into the chat field, so you’d be able to ask questions about, say, places to go for dinner, what movies are playing, or random trivia (to settle disputes), all in-stream.
Can’t be bothered reading your full DMs?
This AI-powered tool would summarize your messages for you, saving you time.
With more interactions on IG switching to DMs, that could be handy, though I’m not sure that I’d fully trust an AI system to understand the full context of every DM.
Labels on AI-generated content
In addition to creation tools, Instagram’s also looking to add more transparency around generative AI content, with new labels that would explain when an image has been created by AI.
As you can see in this example, if a visual has been created with Meta’s own generative AI tools, it will be marked as such, while Meta will also be calling on creators to add a ‘created by AI’ marker on posts that they upload from other tools.
Given the rapid rise of generative AI use, this could be an important indicator to ensure transparency, though many will no doubt try to get around the tags in the hopes of duping people with their created images.
Really, it does feel a little underwhelming that for all the promise of these new generative AI tools, the best we’re getting is chatbots and a few visual creation tools, which generally pump out visuals that are slightly off-kilter. But we’re also still on the ground floor of what’s likely to be possible with generative AI, and in that sense, we probably won’t see anything much more than this for some time yet.
But these could be interesting. The real test of generative AI, as it stands, will be what artists can do with them, and how they can create all-new, human-centered artforms using these as tools. Which may sound counter-intuitive, but the real core of artworks is how they connect into the human experience, so while AI tools can emulate some of this, most lack that real link, which is why they often feel somewhat lifeless.
But that’ll change over time, and as the tools improve, so too will our usage of them, which is why having these as elements within the platforms we interact through is an important early step.
No word from Instagram as to when these elements are coming, but you can expect to see more AI functions merging into your IG feed sometime soon.