Getting Ready for the Future: Can You Spot a Fake?

The more I read about tools like Midjourney and other AI driven methods for creating art and images, the more concerned I get about what’s coming at us as humans. We’re going to be overwhelmed – eventually – with visuals, audio and video that we can’t trust. And, we’re not going to be able to discern the real/true from the fakes, the “good faith” images and the rest.

You can see humans working together in articles like this one to determine that a popular image is, they argue, fraudulent. In this case, it’s just sort of a mild annoyance: A cool photo turns out to be manipulated, and the “artist” seems to be fake, too. You just have to scroll through this essay to see how much time went into analyzing this photo set, looking at shadows, and pixels and clear mistakes. Hours and hours and hours were invested in this project.

On the other hand, a content farm is creating SEO chum focused on using Midjourney to create “art”. These tools are toys now, generating illustrations mainly. But they’re getting more powerful every week, and photo-realistic images and videos are already out there. As the access to these tools increases, hobbyists will unload their work on all of us. Will any of us be able to spot the fake “art” anymore? Will it matter? How will we deal with AI generated images in “journalism”?

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