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AI Image Deception is here
One of the first public disagreements over a potentially AI-generated image. This is what's in store for us.
Photos never tell the full story. We’ve seen pictures posted by partisans of politicians (what a mouthful of alliteration) looking confused or crazy. Biden’s braindead because look at this one picture of him. Trump’s a traitor because look at this other picture. If we’re being realistic and honest, one cannot derive any information from a single shot no matter how convincing it may seem.
Pictures always lie. They don’t maybe, they don’t sometimes - they always lie. Pictures are a snapshot of a moment and as a result, omit crucial information. We often don’t know what happened before the photo was taken. We can’t see outside the photo, we don’t know what the sounds and atmosphere were like or if anything was planted there. There’s so much we can’t possibly know about a particular picture.
Take this for example:
You’d think from this picture along with the headline that Trump (being the obviously rude, and brutish person he is) impatiently dumped a box of fish food while visiting the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. You may have interpreted this as a sign of Trump being disrespectful from the photo, which was precisely the aim.
And thus, another Trump Hoax was born. Those who looked into this caught on quickly. The picture doesn’t show what happened moments before - which was that Abe did the exact same thing. Trump just followed suit.
The picture is lying by omission.
I’ve said this before and it’s important to know, we are visual creatures and opportunitists will use this to their advantage. Sometimes it’s to convince you where to spend your money, other times on who to hate. Visuals are chainsaws of persuasion, once turned on, they’re impossible to cloud out.
Deceitful images are things we are inept at dealing with. And we haven’t even begun to talk about AI-generated images yet.
You can read my previous post about the future of AI here in which I talk about deepfakes:
However, what we see coming up is something that should be of shock to no one:
No way? Ben Shapiro posted an AI-generated image as proof that something happened? This sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? Well, that’s your first hint something might be off - it’s unbelievable.
Maybe it’s not AI-generated?
This is but a mere glimpse of what the future will hold. I’ll start by saying I have no idea what is and isn’t true. The image could be AI-generated, or the AI detection could be wrong. We simply cannot know. That’s the scary part.
In events where public opinion matters, there will be AI images that come out designed to persuade us. Some will be more obvious to spot than others. However, from here on out we are stuck in a perpetual state of uncertainty. If you weren’t sceptical of photos before, you better be now. Any time you see a picture an alarm bell should ring in your mind reminding you that all images lie, but this time it could be wholly fabricated by artificial intelligence.
With the internet soon to be drowning in convincing AI images; people will mistake real images as fake ones. If you’re a hyper-partisan and adore your presidential candidate seeing a picture of them looking like an idiot can be worrying. Your ego could be damaged. Rather than admitting the truth of the picture or trying to explain what’s going on - something that requires both effort and brain power - people will look for the easy way out. Which is dismissing it as AI-generated. There is no thinking required. No admitting that one was wrong. Simply make the claim that it’s AI and go on with your day.
The Upside of this.
At some point, if it hasn’t happened already, we are all going to be fooled by an AI image. This is a certainty as they will become practically indistinguishable from real ones. However, the response to finding out you were duped by AI will reveal your character. The best course of action is one that maintains credibility, which is to admit to being misled.
Hinkle has not acknowledged the community note attached to his post. Either he maintains the belief that Shapiro posted an AI image (unlikely), or he doesn’t want to admit he’s wrong. This sounds bad, but it’s a brilliant outcome for us as observers - we now know that Hinkle cannot be trusted.
Conversely, if he were to come out and admit his mistakes then we know at the very least that he is trying to be honest, and therefore is a more reliable person. Making inevitable mistakes is not the problem, refusing to acknowledge them is. There’s soon to be no need to play whack-a-mole on guessing who to trust.
I’ve just been speaking on AI images. Soon there will be AI videos and audio to go with it. The information sphere will soon be an impossible space to navigate.
The future for truth is looking bleak.
Let’s be humble about it: I don’t know what to believe and neither do you.