Fake images created with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) in which Donald Trump appears to be under arrest have circulated on social networks in the context of the trial targeting him. Another photo, in which Pope Benedict appears to be wearing an extremely expensive coat, was also created with the help of AI. Finally, Putin on his knees is the latest in a series of fakes with personalities created using the new platforms.
The world is entering a new era: that of fake news which is very difficult to combat, because it is created with artificial intelligence.
Trump wasn’t arrested
Many of the photos targeting Donald Trump show the former president’s arrest, charged with embezzling campaign funds to buy the silence of a woman whom he allegedly had an affair with.
If the existence of an indictment by prosecutors is a real fact, there is no real photo of Trump in handcuffs, for the simple fact that the Republican leader has not been detained or taken into custody until now. He will be tried in freedom, in a trial that will most likely not start until next year.
Many of those sharing the images pointed out they were fake, and they did not appear to fool lots of people – but a few did seem to be tricked.
On Thursday, even Mr Trump shared an AI-generated image on his own social media platform, Truth Social. It showed him kneeling in prayer, wrote BBC.
What are some of the tell-tale signs of AI-generated imagery? And how can you distinguish what is real from what is fake?
The images circulating online seem taken out of reality – they bring more of artistic photos staged by photographers, notes the BBC.
A closer look reveals some obvious clues that something is wrong
Trump’s arm is way too short, for example, and the police officer on the left is grasping what looks more like a claw than a human hand.
Similarly, if you focus on Mr Trump’s neck, you’ll notice that his head looks as if it’s been superimposed on the image.
Henry Ajder, an AI expert and presenter of the BBC radio series The Future Will be Synthesised, says current technology is not very good at depicting certain body parts, especially hands.
Pope Francis, in Balenciaga clothes
Another fake image created with the help of artificial intelligence is of Pope Francis, who was portrayed wearing a white jacket that appears to be from the luxury fashion house Balenciaga. The image made the rounds on social media, with several users praising the 86-year-old head of the Catholic Church’s „style”.
The image was generated by Midjourney and posted on Reddit by u/trippy_art_special, before being spread across Twitter and TikTok, noted Forbes.
If one looks closely, the image can easily be identified as an AI creation; the pope’s ear is smudgy, his glasses melt into the shadow across his face, and his hand, clutching a coffee cup, is warped.
Skin texture, as always, looks a bit waxy, but at first glance, many assumed the image was real.
While the „Papa Balenciaga” image wasn’t nearly as misleading as the „Donald Trump Arrested” image, the speed with which the image spread, along with the gullibility of some social media users, raised concerns that the public is unprepared for the disinformation value generated by the rise of generative artificial intelligence, says the Forbes report, which shows how public AI imaging tools have become powerful enough to generate realistic images.
Kneeling before Xi Jinping
Another personality that appeared in a controversial image is Vladimir Putin. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia made headlines around the world.
Against the background of the war in Ukraine and Moscow’s growing submission to Beijing, because it desperately needs economical and military aid, an image that went viral on social media targeted the Kremlin dictator.
The picture shows Vladimir Putin kneeling in front of Xi Jinping. It would be a gesture of submission with a lot of symbolism – if the image were real, reports DW.
The truth is that Putin did not kneel to Xi Jinping, the photo is fake. Besides the fact that such a gesture of submission would be highly unrealistic from a head of state, it appears that the image was generated by an artificial intelligence application.
The ear is strangely deformed
Upon closer inspection, several puzzling details in the image catch the eye. The rear shoe of the person kneeling — claimed to be Putin — is disproportiontely large and wide. The calf on the same leg looks stretched. The person’s head, while half covered, is also very large and does not match the proportions of the rest of the body.
The ear is strangely deformed and features several odd, nondescript lumps that other images of Putin’s ear do not show. The ear on — purportedly — Xi Jinping’s head also appears strangely deformed if one zooms in.
But the most obvious discrepancy does not regard either Xi or Putin, but the person standing left of them. This man’s hands appear to be fused together, wrote DW.
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