‘Dope Pope’: Puffer Jacket Wearing Pope is Actually Swagless
Have you lot seen that photo of Pope Francis wearing a massive white puffer coat? Pretty dope, right? It’s been doing the rounds on social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter, but surprisingly, it’s a complete fake. After winning first place in an art competition, AI is at it again, fooling the world with its marvellous recreations. But does this dope puffer jacket-wearing Pope photo dupe open the door to more internet controversies? Let’s find out.
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The Dope Pope picture was whipped up using Midjourney, an artificial intelligence tool that can produce incredibly realistic fake images. The image then made its way to Reddit before hitting Twitter over the weekend, where most folks seemed to think it was genuine, despite being conjured up by AI.
Midjourney has recently been used to generate photorealistic images of ex-president Donald Trump being arrested. Even the recently indicted Donald Trump shared a bogus AI-generated photo of himself kneeling down to pray. At first glance, these images all appear to be real photos. However, they’re all computer-generated fabrications.
So how does one identify the real from the fake? The hands Chiko, they never lie. According to internet sleuths and disprovers, hands are one of the most straightforward ways to determine if an image might be AI-generated. Midjourney has a tough time producing hands, and this image of the Pope is no exception.
However, with the way AI is expanding, this may not always be the case.
AI image generators, including OpenAI’s DALL-E and Stable Diffusion, enable anyone to use text to describe the image they want to see. Even Microsoft’s Bing search engine has its own AI text-to-image creator. These AI-generated images can be produced because the tools have been trained on millions of pictures from the web, including many photos protected by copyright. And it’s this last point that has resulted in lawsuits by businesses like Getty Images, which contend that their intellectual property is being violated.
Getty Images – supplier of stock images, editorial photography, video and music for businesses and consumers – may have a case, as court documents reveal that Stable Diffusion’s image generator sometimes includes a crude element resembling the Getty watermark, catching them redhanded. It comes after the U.S. Copyright Office recently declared that AI-created images could not be protected by copyright, which is an intriguing development for people who want to use these images in books and magazines.
AI-generated images are relatively new, with businesses releasing their tools to the public only within the last four months, following the big splash made by ChatGPT and OpenAI. However, phoney photos have existed since the invention of photography. One of the most famous examples comes courtesy of former Soviet Union leader Joeseph Stalin, who was notorious for routinely airbrushing his enemies out of photographs.
Only time will tell whether these new AI programs will create more disinformation and misinformation than Adobe Photoshop only dreamed of before the advent of AI image generation.
Although tools like Midjourney require less expertise than Photoshop to create a convincing fake, they are still powerful tools for those who want to spread disinformation. As for us, we’re captivated by the exponential growth of this new technology. We cannot predict what could be on the horizon, but much like that tricycle-riding kid in The Incredibles said, we hope it’s something amazing.
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