Allegations of Copying Apple’s Weather App Lead Figma to Disable Its AI Design Tool

July 9, 2024
Apple’s Weather App

Figma’s latest feature, Make Designs, allowed users to swiftly create app mockups using generative AI. However, it has been withdrawn following concerns that the designs generated bore a strong resemblance to Apple’s iOS weather app. Dylan Field, CEO of Figma, posted a thread on X early Tuesday, explaining the decision to remove the feature. He took responsibility for pressuring the team to meet a deadline and defended the company’s methodology in developing its AI tools.

In posts on X, Andy Allen, CEO of Not Boring Software, highlighted the striking resemblance between Figma’s Make Designs tool and Apple’s weather app. Allen cautioned designers using the new Make Designs feature to carefully inspect existing apps or significantly alter the results to avoid potential legal issues.

Figma’s CTO Kris Rasmussen was straightforward when inquired about whether Make Designs had been trained on Apple’s app designs. His response was cautious, indicating uncertainty. According to him, Figma did not conduct any training for its generative AI features. Instead, these features utilize off-the-shelf models and a bespoke design system commissioned by the company, which seems to be at the core of the current concerns. In his latest remarks, Field clarified that the Make Designs feature does not utilize Figma content, community files, or app designs for its training data. He emphasized that the allegations regarding data training mentioned in a tweet are inaccurate. Field pointed out a critical flaw in the company’s strategy, citing that the lack of variability remains a significant concern.

Recent reports suggest that Make Designs utilizes advanced AI models, namely OpenAI’s GPT-4o and Amazon’s Titan Image Generator G1, as noted by Rasmussen. Speculation has arisen regarding the training data of these models, particularly whether they might have been influenced by Apple’s designs, despite assertions from Figma that they did not conduct specific training for their AI tools. When approached for comment, both OpenAI and Amazon did not immediately respond.

Figma faced scrutiny recently over its approach to integrating AI into its design tools, following revelations from Rasmussen that the company had delayed training its AI models until implementing new transparency policies. Under these policies, users were given until August 15th to choose whether their content could be used for Figma’s training. Regarding process improvements to mitigate future issues, Rasmussen detailed efforts to review and enhance the bespoke design system for sufficient variation and quality standards. He assured additional precautions would precede the re-enabling of the Make Designs feature, aligning with Figma’s values and quality benchmarks.

Acknowledging Make Designs’ beta status, Rasmussen admitted imperfections in catching specific issues but expressed confidence in resolving them swiftly. Figma anticipated re-enabling Make Designs shortly, while other AI features will remain accessible via a waitlist sign-up.

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