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Future generations will appreciate the change in atmosphere. That happened last weekend when social media feeds were suddenly filled with images of Pope Francis. Usually a pious and naive man, he looks like a boss in a sleek white puffer coat. It was immediately a meme, LOL in a sea of bad news. Someone created the image using the artificial intelligence tool Midjourney. But it fooled so many people that the press began calling it “one of the first examples of massive misinformation attributed to artificial intelligence.”
Just type that sentence and it will stick in your head.Like the first time I saw someone in a red cloak Handmaid’s TaleThis doesn’t bode well for dystopia. After all, the Pope was just one image of him looking like a fly. But what if it’s an image declaring it to be the battlefield of a war in Ukraine? Or is President Biden holding some sort of secret meeting? The possibility of AI generating that kind of misinformation is daunting.
Of course, getting dozens of people to fall for Volodymyr Zelensky’s disastrous deepfake takes a little more work than misleading them with a goofy photo of the Pope.As Charlie Worzel points out Atlantic Everyone is “trying to find out the truth using various heuristics” this week. For example, it’s easier to believe that Pope Francis is wearing a puffer than that his AI image of arrested former President Donald Trump is real. So it’s not hard to see why so many people watched them, chuckled, and kept scrolling without questioning their authenticity.
But this sets a troubling precedent. The creators of the image of the Pope’s coat are not trying to mislead anyone. In fact, he told BuzzFeed News that he was just trying to come up with a funny image after tripping over a mushroom. But what if it was part of a misinformation campaign? It is already so clean that it is difficult for the human eye or ear to detect its origin.
Viewers probably didn’t know Anthony Bourdain’s voice was faked in the documentary road runner If Morgan Neville hadn’t told me New YorkerDeepfakes are already being used as political tools. As it stands, skeptics can consult credible news sources if they suspect an image is fake, but trust in the news media is already nearing record lows. When someone can generate an image of something, and trust in the source that can reveal that image is at an all-time low, who will believe their lying eyes?
Days after an AI-generated image of Pope Francis went viral, the pope was taken to a hospital in Rome with a respiratory infection. He’s improved since then, but got a little lost in the false image story as the (real) news spread. rice field.
The age of social media has turned Very Online into a pretty good detective. Skepticism reigns. But so are conspiracy theories. Beyond the post-truth era, we have entered an era where compelling images, text, and even video can be generated out of thin air. One of the great promises of the Internet was that anyone could broadcast information to a much larger audience than before. Over the years, liars have become easier to spot: bad URLs, crappy photoshops, typos – all of which have caught the bad guys. AI can smooth out their mistakes. I’m no Chicken Little, but maybe I just haven’t been fooled by the image of the falling sky yet.