An image using AI shows former US President Donald Trump being arrested by police. Photo/Twitter @EliotHiggins
WASHINGTON – Ex president United States of America (AS) Donald Trump were confronted by a number of New York City police officers dressed in riot gear. President Russia Vladimir Putin behind bars of a dimly lit concrete cell a gray prison.
The incredibly detailed and sensational images have flooded Twitter and other platforms in recent days, amid news that Trump faces possible criminal charges and the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Putin.
But it’s not the original image. These images — and variations strewn across social media — are produced using increasingly sophisticated and widely accessible image generators powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Hoax experts warn that the images are a harbinger of a new reality: waves of fake photos and videos flood social media after major news events and further blur fact and fiction at a pivotal moment for society.
“It does add to the noise during crisis events. It also increases the level of cynicism,” said Jevin West, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle who focuses on the spread of misinformation.
“You start to lose faith in the system and the information you get,” he added as quoted from Al Arabiya, Friday (24/3/2023).
While the ability to manipulate photos and create fake images is nothing new, AI image creation tools by Midjourney, DALL-E, and others are easier to use. They can quickly produce realistic images — complete with detailed backgrounds — at mass scale with just a simple text request from their users.
Some of the recent images are driven by a new version of Midjourney’s text-to-image synthesis model released this month. This new version can produce images that convincingly mimic the style of news agency photos.
In one widely circulated Twitter thread, Eliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat, a Netherlands-based investigative journalism collective, used the latest version of the tool to surface dramatic images of Trump’s fictitious arrest.
The visual, which has been shared and liked tens of thousands of times, shows a crowd of uniformed officers grabbing the Republican billionaire and violently pulling him onto the sidewalk.
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